One Health Leadership Series
One of the major activities of the UWI’s EU/ACP funded One Health One Caribbean One Love project, was the two (2) year One Health Leadership Series. It brought together 29 Caribbean professionals from diverse backgrounds across 12 Countries and built capacity in Leadership and One Health.
One Health National Projects
Learning by Doing
Participants in the One Health Leadership Series were given an opportunity to turn knowledge into action. One Health national teams were formed and tasked to design and implement small, funded, locally relevant projects in each of the 12 participating countries. Each national team was supported by a mentor. Participants gained insights and experience in facilitating change, building and negotiating relationships and empowering and engaging others across scales and sectors. During workshops, participants shared their successes and challenges, lessons learnt and best practices from around the region.
National One Health projects included heavy metal testing of shark meat in Trinidad and Tobago, construction of a mobile aquaponics to reduce the risk of mercury exposure from eating fresh water fish in Suriname, antimicrobial resistance and residues testing in Barbados, reduction of pesticide use in Haiti, managing the invasive lionfish in St Vincent and the Grenadines, managing the giant African snail in Antigua and Barbuda, creative messaging for childhood obesity in Grenada, addressing iron deficiency anaemia through food security in Dominica, rabies outreach in Belize, solid waste management in Guyana and sustainable watershed management in protected areas, Jamaica.
SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES:
-Maintaining Healthy reefs by ‘eating and beating’ an invasive species
The health and wealth of many Caribbean countries is tied to healthy reefs. Lionfish, a species of fish native to the Pacific Ocean, have recently invaded Caribbean waters and directly threaten the health of our stressed and fragile reefs. These voracious predators are a potential ecological disaster feeding on many of the juvenile fish species present in Caribbean waters (Snappers, Groupers, Hinds).
Usually seen as a problem that would be addressed in isolation by the fisheries division, the SVG One Health team fully understood the complex multisectoral nature of the problem, as well as the need to coordinate several sectors to appropriately approach and address the problem. This included the Ministries of Health, Agriculture, Environment, Tourism, and different private sector and interest groups across the country. Using this One Health approach, the team worked closely with the Ministries of Agriculture, Fisheries Division, Health, Education, Tourism, Tourism Authority, National Parks and Gardens, Fisher folk organisations and Relevant NGOs, SusGren, Mayreau Regatta, Bequia Dive, SVG Hotel and Tourism Association, to implement a coordinated mitigation strategy that leveraged the expertise and resources of the groups involved. The project carried out a gap analysis on current knowledge of lionfish among affected groups and focused efforts to encourage people “to eat it to beat it” and promote lionfish as an alternative, safe source of protein. The team carried out school cooking competitions, poster competitions, produced a Lionfish jingle, conducted a Lionfish derby during Fisherman’s Day and carried out several outreach presentations in local schools.
Photo Caption: Lionfish Derby