Indonesian visit develops new learning opportunities

Murdoch University students participating in New Colombo Plan trip to Indonesia

Eight Murdoch University students are travelling to Bali, Indonesia, to garner hands-on experience working with local non-government, not-for-profit and government organisations in animal welfare.

Together they will be focusing on the eradication of rabies and the illegal dog meat trade.

Led by Dr Charlotte Oskam from Murdoch University’s Centre for Biosecurity and One Health and Harry Butler Institute, the students will spend two weeks in urban and rural communities acquiring knowledge about One Health challenges and aspects of emerging infection diseases (EID) in the Australasian region.

The students are participating in the program as scholars of the New Colombo Plan, funded by the Federal Government.

“The control of EID in humans and animals constitutes one of the most important objectives of global economies,” Dr Oskam said.

“With one quarter of all past pandemics associated with the spread of vector-borne pathogens including ticks and mosquitoes, this project will provide invaluable real-world experiences for the next generation of One Health scientists, policy makers, and regulators."

The One Health Internship and Practicum in Indonesia is a hybrid study program hosted by the University of Udayana (UNUD; Bali, Indonesia) involving 5 weeks of online intensive lectures on One Health topics, Indonesian language and cultural study program, followed by a 2-week in country internship facilitated by Animals International and practicum by UNUD staff,

The Murdoch University students come from a variety of undergraduate areas of study including animal health and animal science, biomedical sciences, and forensic sciences. From 30 applicants, 8 were selected based on their expression of interest and an interview.

“Students will collaborate in completing a single program of study not otherwise available in other units. This NCP provides an opportunity for students to develop transferable career skills, create change and opportunity, and increase their professional network through a real-world learning experience," Dr Oskam said.

“This is taking them from the lecture theatre to communities that face, and are dealing with, emerging infectious diseases, due to the environment many animals are in.

“Not only will they be working directly with organisations at the forefront of dealing with these issues, they will be engaging in language and cultural awareness training which is so important when these emerging infectious diseases are so transmissible and transcend beyond borders and cultures."Dr Charlotte Oskam

“Moreover, with the outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD) in Indonesia, the students are engaged in strict, real-life biosecurity and risk-management procedures. The University has supplied personal protective equipment, which will stay in Bali, to mitigate the risk of bringing FMD back to Australia.”

Activities to be undertaken by the students during the intensive internship will include:

  • promoting advocacy, education and enforcement of animal cruelty laws in Indonesia through assisting Bali Animal Defenders (funded by AI), and liaising with village authorities and police
  • ending the dog meat trade in Bali on human health and animal welfare grounds, by monitoring possible outlets assisted by Government agencies and local village authorities, and providing education about the dog meat trade, including impacts on tourism especially from Australia
  • assisting with planning how to eradicate rabies in Bali
  • understanding herd health – management and control of rabies in Bali from a One Health, tourism and government perspective

Dr Oskam said the federally funded project will strengthen a long standing partnership between UNUD and Murdoch University.

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Posted on:

19 Sep 2022



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