Implemented by FHI 360, PREVENT is one of four complementary projects launched in 2009 by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to pre-empt or combat emerging pandemic threats.
USAID’s emerging pandemic threats program draws on expertise from animal and human health sectors to build regional, national and local One Health capacities for early disease detection, laboratory-based disease diagnosis, rapid response and containment, and risk reduction.
The PREVENT project uses a multidisciplinary approach to identify who is at highest risk of exposure to emerging pathogens, characterize the behaviors and practices that put them at risk, and develop and test interventions to reduce the risk. The project seeks to influence three key drivers of human exposure to animal pathogens:
- Culture — social preferences and customs
- Commerce — local and international trade in wild animals and animal products
- Land use change — human activities such as mining or construction that can affect biodiversity
Working in hot spot regions in Central and East Africa and South and Southeast Asia, PREVENT:
- Conducts in-depth qualitative and quantitative research on high-risk populations, such as hunters in Cambodia, Cameroon and Laos; market vendors and wild animal meat consumers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of Congo; forest and agricultural populations in northern Thailand; wildlife farmers in Vietnam; people of different ethnicities living near a hydropower site in Laos; and people in disturbed and semi-disturbed landscapes in southwestern Uganda.
- Identifies feasible, less-risky alternatives to current practices that place people at increased risk for infectious diseases, such as activities related to the hunting, food preparation and farming of wild animals, and develops and tests interventions that promote them. For example, PREVENT is evaluating two behavior change campaigns in Bangladesh that aim to reduce the risk of exposure to the Nipah virus; in Laos, PREVENT is pilot testing an approach to improving market hygiene.
- Develops regional, national and local capacity to use proven communication techniques to enhance the effectiveness of behavior change and risk communication interventions. PREVENT has developed and implemented trainings (completed in Cambodia and ongoing in Myanmar) to improve the interpersonal communication skills and knowledge of avian influenza among veterinarians, community animal health workers and poultry farmers. PREVENT also developed a field epidemiology training program on applied communication skills to improve outbreak investigations and reporting in hot spots in Africa and Southeast Asia.
- Provides communication support for the Food and Agriculture Organization’s efforts to contain H7N9 avian influenza.
- In 2012, PREVENT began receiving funding from the Australian Department of Foreign Assistance and Trade to support activities in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma) and Vietnam.
Risk-reduction and research materials
- Land use change
- Field Epidemiology Training Program — Applied Communication Skills
- Advocating for Change: Raising Awareness for Avian Influenza
- Subtle Persuasion: An Easy and Effective Handbook for Changing the World Through Advocacy