Students@SPM 2024: One Health Table-Top Simulation Exercise for Postgraduate Students

From the 7th to the 9th of March 2024, the Malaysia One Health University Network (MyOHUN) organised an insightful One Health Table-Top Simulation Exercise, drawing participants from various Malaysian universities including UM, UNIMAS, USM, UMS, and UMK. The training was conducted at the Faculty of Veterinary at Universiti Putra Malaysia, Selangor.

Four students from Universiti Malaya, Dr Nurul Nadia Binti Md Zin, Dr Siti Zuhairah Binti Mohamad Razali, Dr Muhamad Fadhil Bin Mohd Pua’at Zuzaki, and Dr Ruthashini R Selvasingam, had the opportunity to immerse themselves in the One Health field through this programme. Their participation was made possible thanks to Associate Professor Dr Rafdzah Ahmad Zaki, who provided them with this opportunity to deepen their understanding and skills. Their involvement is evidence of the importance of hands-on learning and the cultivation of future healthcare leaders committed to tackling complex health challenges through a collaborative approach.

The programme commenced with a warm ice-breaking session led by Associate Professor Dr Azimatun Noor of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, setting the platform for collaboration and active engagement. This was quickly followed by a comprehensive overview of the One Health concept grounding attendees in the multidisciplinary approach essential for tackling global health challenges.

Professor Dr Rozita Hod from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia explained the core and technical competencies required in the One Health field, emphasising the integration of human, animal, and environmental health sectors. Professor Dr Razitasham Safii from Universiti Malaysia Sarawak introduced participants to the One Health approach for managing outbreaks of zoonotic diseases, a timely and critical skill set given the increasing incidence of such outbreaks globally.

Experiential learning was a key component, with Dr Aisyah from the Department of Veterinary Services and Associate Professor Dr Rafdzah Ahmad Zaki from Universiti Malaya sharing real-world experiences in managing zoonotic diseases from veterinary and human healthcare perspectives, respectively. These sessions highlighted the complexities and importance of cross-sectoral cooperation in outbreak management and prevention.

The programme’s innovative approach to learning continued with table-top simulation exercises led by Associate Professors Dr Azimatun Noor and Dr Bina Rai. These exercises allowed students to apply One Health principles to simulated scenarios, fostering critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and interdisciplinary collaboration.

A highlight of the programme was the educational trip to Ayer Hitam Forest Reserve, Puchong, Selangor, providing participants with firsthand exposure to the interface between human activities and natural ecosystems, reinforcing the significance of environmental conservation in public health.

The intensive three-day program concluded with the preparation of preparedness guidelines, where participants synthesised their learning into actionable strategies for outbreak management and prevention. This exercise not only consolidated the participants’ knowledge but also empowered them to contribute meaningfully to One Health initiatives.

This programme offered by MyOHUN was a big step forward in cultivating a new generation of One Health professionals equipped with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to address the complex health challenges of the 21st century. As the participants return to their respective institutions, they carry with them not just enhanced expertise but also a strengthened network of peers committed to the One Health approach.

This write-up was prepared by Dr Ruthashini R Selvasingam, Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) candidate from the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Malaya.

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