Thursday, July 3, 2008

Institute of Development Studies plans research on "policy and politics" of the global AI response

A research initiative supported by the Pro-Poor Livestock Policy Initiative will be examining the impacts of the the global HPAI response, the "winners and losers" and how this might impact disease control strategies in the future.

"Dr Anni McLeod, FAO Senior Officer (Livestock Policy), attended the recent planning workshop for this project at IDS. ‘This research comes at a particularly interesting time because the global focus is shifting from Avian Influenza as a single disease and an emergency, to thinking about how we might deal with zoonotic diseases in the future. That is going to require a very good understanding for the political economy in which the diseases are situated and the way that institutions work together to deal with them,’ she said.

‘We have got so much experience with Avian Influenza, there are so many narratives running through this on which we can draw, but there has been very little documentation of those narratives; most of the research that has been done doesn’t take that angle. This is quite a unique project coming at a really interesting time,’ Dr McLeod added.

The research will focus on both the international level, working with the key agencies involved in the global response, and the country level, engaging with four countries in SE Asia – Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. The overall analysis of the political economy of policy will reveal key challenges, obstacles and opportunities for responding to avian flu – and potentially other global epidemics. This project is part of a broader initiative of the STEPS Centre on ‘Global epidemics: pathways of disease and response’.

Working with collaborators in international agencies and national programmes, as well as funding agencies, the aim will be to develop a fresh and critical reflection on the current response to the HPAI challenge, asking questions about the distributional and sustainability consequences of the existing policy response"

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