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Seminarium Exploring the whys and the hows of epidemiology

The 20 November 2018. Welcome to a seminar focusing on how veterinary epidemiology and social science can cooperate for increased understanding of aspects other than factual knowledge that affect decisions relating to disease control.

Controlling animal diseases is critical for reducing rural poverty and increasing household livelihood resilience in many contexts.  For many recurring diseases threatening the livelihoods of poor people, the epidemiology is well known. Despite this, effective control is not achieved. It is clear that veterinary or medical knowledge alone is not sufficient to achieve disease control and that understanding local sociocultural, economic and political dimensions is equally important. Integration of social sciences into epidemiology has so far been very limited and, if included at all, this discipline is only at the periphery of disease outbreak management.

The importance of community involvement and true participation and the need for full integration of social sciences in disease control was painfully evident in the recent Ebola epidemic in West Africa. The understanding of how human behaviour drove transmission of the disease, achieved through a multi-disciplinary, biosocial, bottom-up and community-centred approach and drawing on social science competence, was critical when the epidemic was eventually brought under control. The ebola outbreak will be one of the cases discussed  during the seminar.

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