SESAM launches One Health mobile lab

In a significant stride towards enhancing innovation and accessibility and extending to areas in need of emergency response, educational institutions, and communities, the 1HEALTH Program Mobile Laboratory was officially blessed and launched on August 29, 2023.

The 1HEALTH Mobile Laboratory is intended for the ACIAR-IDRC-funded project through the University of the Philippines Los Banos Foundation Inc. (UPLBFI) led by Dr. Yusuf A. Sucol entitled, “Country Research Update and Policy Support to the Philippines’ National Surveillance and Control Programs for African Swine Fever, Avian Influenza, and Antimicrobial Resistance: A One Health Systems Approach to Food Animal Security, Public Health Resiliency, and Environment Sustainability.” ACIAR-IDRC stands for the co-investment partnership of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and Canada’s International Development Research Centre that started funding interventions recognizing the interconnection among human, animal, and environmental health known as AIRPOH or ACIAR/IDRC Research Program on One Health. 1HEALTH stands for One Human-Environment-Animal Linkage for Total Health which will support ongoing control and surveillance programs for the holistic and sustainable management of ASF, AI, and AMR.

Speaking at the event, Dr. Rico C. Ancog, Dean of the UPLB School of Environmental Science and Management, emphasized the significance of the project and the use of the mobile laboratory. In a notable tribute, Dean Ancog extended his heartfelt commendations to the dedicated 1HEALTH team, recognizing their instrumental role in bringing the mobile laboratory vision to fruition from its inception to the present day. Brimming with pride and elation, Dean Ancog expressed his profound satisfaction with the remarkable strides achieved by the project. Notably, the 1HEALTH initiative stands as one of only two ACIAR-IDRC-funded projects in the Philippines, both hailing from SESAM. Dean Ancog underscored his unwavering belief in the team’s capabilities, emphasizing his hope for the sustained delivery of exceptional outcomes and the perpetuation of such visionary endeavors.

Dr. Nathaniel Bantayan, Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension, delivered the message of the Chancellor, Dr. Jose V. Camacho, and shared his optimism: “Through rigorous research, data-driven insights, and evidence-based policy recommendations, the HEALTH project seeks to fortify the foundations of our national surveillance and control programs. By aligning our efforts across sectors, we can more effectively detect, prevent, and manage outbreaks, thereby safeguarding our food supply, protecting our population’s health, and preserving the environment for future generations.”

The event also witnessed heartfelt words from the director of UPLB Foundation Inc., Dr. Enrico P. Supangco, who expressed gratitude for the initiative. Dr. Supangco lends his resounding support to bolster financial management and streamline project procurement, allowing the project to center its efforts exclusively on research objectives while preemptively sidestepping potential future pitfalls. His resolute stance underscores the imperative for each project, extending beyond SESAM, to proactively avert the need for damage control by fostering robust communication with UPLBFI. 

Leading the 1HEALTH Project, Dr. Yusuf Sucol orchestrated an event that marked a significant milestone. He introduced the project leaders and team, providing a comprehensive project overview and extending gratitude to the key persons in bringing the initiative to reality. The ceremonial blessing of the mobile laboratory was led by Rev. Fr. Efren P. Montoya, who emphasized the profound impact of such endeavors in nurturing community unity and compassion.

The 1HEALTH Mobile Laboratory is set to embark on its maiden journey. As the wheels of the mobile laboratory start turning, they foster curiosity, innovation, and collaboration, and may it inspire generations to come. (Hannah Agatha Millares, Maria Anthea Fataldo, Paulliene Leanne  Masungsong, Christine Mae Santos, Cyrille Eliz Gregorio)