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.
One of the unintended negative consequences of illegal mining is the high mercury contamination of waterways and ecosystems, which then end up in popular fish species that are eaten by local communities. This is both a food security and safety issue that affects public health. Working primarily with the residents of Brownsweg Brokopondo, the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries (LVV) and the Anton de Kom University Suriname (AdeKUS), the team explored alternative, practical and sustainable methods to reduce mercury exposure through fish consumption by providing affected communities with a safe, alternative food supply using an aquaponics. They developed a mobile, small-scale, low-cost aquaponics system, designed to increase and diversify safe backyard food production. Commercial aquaculture has been used previously in Suriname, but for the small communities targeted by this project, these commercial systems are too expensive and problematic to maintain.
Photo Caption: Aquaponics training session - Suriname