Uncovering outcomes and challenges of using an Ecohealth app...


The Ecohealth Field Building Leadership Initiative (FBLI) (2011-2016), supported by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), aims to understand and address intensive agricultural practices and associated health risks in Southeast Asia and China through research, capacity building, and knowledge translation (Lam et al, 2016).

In Vietnam, FBLI researchers and their partners are conducting a project titled "Using an Ecohealth approach for better human and animal waste management in Hanam Province, Vietnam." Hanam was chosen as the study site for several reasons: strong agricultural community; and existing relationships between the research team and community members through a previous project (NCCR). Human and animal waste management was identified as a priority agricultural intensification issue, and the use of wastewater and excreta in agriculture is common practice in Hanam. However, this practice can present potential public health risks to farmers and consumers if not properly managed.

The objectives of this project are to conduct research on current status of agriculture in Ha Nam, determine health risks from human and animal waste management, and implement interventions for better waste management. A pilot intervention was conducted in Hoang Tay commune in October 2014. The aim of the intervention was to, among others, improve knowledge and practice surrounding safe and effective biogas waste management.

A six-step model was developed as the result of discussion between local farmers, research team members and a biogas expert. The model aims to promote best practice among biogas users in Hoang Tay commune of Hanam. A core group of 12 motivated farmers was formed and trained on hygienic livestock practices, and biogas waste management knowledge was disseminated to other farmers. A number of posters, calendars, and booklets were designed as tools for community-based communication sanitation in the local area. Change was also promoted at the communal level, through the commune’s traditional regulation document “Huong Uoc”.

A second intervention is currently being conducted in Chuyen Ngoai commune of Duy Tien district, Hanam province (since beginning of 2016), following similar intervention steps.

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