Table 2

Key barriers and proposed solutions relating to EIDs

Key barriersProposed solutions
Rapid loss of interest after a crisis is resolved
  • Health security to be given standing priority.

  • Ensure that the lessons learnt from EID crises/scares are reviewed and appropriate actions implemented; create national expert body to facilitate this.

  • Continuous education of politicians and the general public.

Politicians hearing many different voices
  • Scientists to consolidate messaging (national expert body).

  • Package scientific findings into effective messages.

Communication of uncertainty
  • Work with politicians and the public to view EID preparation and scenario planning as an insurance policy.

  • Refine scenario planning and improve preparedness at all levels (public health officials, researchers, professional groups and policymakers).

  • Work with the public and the media to optimise communication.

Delay in getting research proposals approved during an outbreak
  • Consider important research questions (national expert body).

  • Prepare generic research proposals in advance.

  • Fast-track ethics approval processes during epidemic outbreaks.

Weak EID surveillance and response systems within the Asia Pacific region
  • Comprehensive assessment of regional IHR-2005 implementation.

  • Improved laboratory/diagnostic capacity and reporting structures.

  • Increased domestic funding, as well as international aid, with a specific focus on regional health security.

  • Expand IHR-2005 to include focus on livestock and wildlife disease surveillance or integrate with complimentary processes such as the OIE’s Evaluation of Performance of Veterinary Services.

  • Remunerate farmers for losses incurred as a result of disease detection to secure their cooperation in surveillance efforts.

Separation of animal and human disease data, research and policy
  • Identify overlapping issues in human and animal health; understand and respect each other’s perspectives.

  • Funding agencies to encourage and support joint research opportunities that links human, animal and environmental health.

  • Create national oversight body containing human, animal and environmental health experts.

Separate government structures for human and animal public health
  • Encourage cross-discipline collaboration at Commonwealth and State levels; regular meetings between human and animal public health officials (including wildlife).

  • Increase cross-ministerial interaction at Cabinet and senior government official level.

Restrictive discipline focus in academic institutions
  • Broaden undergraduate exposure to the ‘natural sciences’.

  • Encourage multidisciplinary perspectives and complex systems awareness at under and post-graduate levels, for example, joint One/Eco/Planetary Health training between medical and veterinary schools; Master degrees in One/Eco/Planetary Health, Health Security or Complex Systems.

  • EID, Emerging Infectious Disease; IHR, International Health Regulations; OIE, World Organisation of Animal Health.