Decision makers in the Indonesian animal health services are under pressure to justify to economists why they need to use valuable resources for the surveillance, prevention and control of animal diseases. The Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) working with the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water have established the Australia Indonesia Partnership for Emerging Infectious Diseases (AIPEID) which aims to address needs for data collection and generation of information for decision making. A component of this Partnership is to enhance skills in the use of economics in animal health.
Professor Jonathan Rushton, who works within our Faculty of Health and Life Sciences (HLS), is an agricultural economist who has researched and taught on the subject around the globe for more than 20 years.
The Australian Department of Agriculture and Water approached Jonathan to design and deliver a training course introducing animal health economics and a one day follow up course for senior staff and middle managers from the Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture. The initiative forms part of Australia’s aid programme to support its neighbour.
The combination of Jonathan’s expertise in agricultural economics and its application to animal health, with the strong academic reputation of the University of Liverpool were the basis for the Australian Government’s request.
Jonathan has travelled to Indonesia on two separate occasions to deliver the two courses face to face - the first course in October 2017 and a follow up day in January 2018. The content for the courses was tailored specifically for this unique audience, covered the core concepts in agricultural economics including productivity, marginality of decision making and pricing of goods and services with a focus on the livestock sector, in particular animal diseases. Jonathan designed exercises at each stage so participants could apply the learning to their own situations.
He covered assessing the economic burden of animal health issues such as loss in production, surveillance and control measures and setting a baseline to examine whether to make an intervention. Participants were introduced to standard techniques with an exercise using partial budget analysis.
The content of the first course was so well received that all the participants returned for the refresher day in January 2018 - even though the land area covered by Indonesia is bigger than Europe so some were travelling long distances and taking significant time away from their day jobs.
The refresher session also included new material such as an introduction to risk and uncertainty with examples from Jonathan’s work on the impact of bird flu, foot and mouth disease and the control of salmonella in pigs in Europe.
The training courses were delivered in English and the content and slides translated into Bahasa, the official language of Indonesia, by a local translator.
Feedback was so positive that the University of Liverpool has been given approval for Jonathan to return to Indonesia for 10 further days for the development of case studies of the economic profitability of animal health interventions, and to contribute to the Global Burden of Animal Diseases Program.
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