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.
Trinidad and Tobago:
Heavy metals accumulation in sharks
Sharks are consumed in large quantities in Trinidad and Tobago, with ‘Bake and Shark’ being one of the most popular forms of street food in the country. Worldwide, many species of shark are overfished and are endangered and, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), one-third of ocean shark species are threatened with extinction. Sharks are keystone species, top predators and are vital to healthy ecosystems. Eating species that are top ocean predators like sharks comes with a health risk warning, as the bioaccumulation of heavy metals like mercury is more likely in these species. Internationally and locally, data is lacking on heavy metal accumulation in sharks. Team T&T embarked on a project to investigate the levels of heavy metals present in the shark meat eaten in Trinidad and Tobago. The team collected and tested shark meat samples for mercury, lead, arsenic, cadmium, zinc and copper, providing baseline information. The team also assessed consumer and fisherfolk awareness on the risk of eating shark meat.