So, we have exactly eighteen days left before our first One Health Zoonotic Disease Awareness Day in Pretoria, South Africa.

For those of you who just stumbled onto this site…let me fill you in quickly:

I am currently a PhD student, studying the management of Bovine Brucellosis in Gauteng Province.  Gauteng province is the smallest of South Africa’s nine provinces.  It has a lot of people of a lot of different colors and cultures and a lot of animals of different species and breeds…and a lot of cars and a lot of Woolworths.

I work for Gauteng provincial government as their epidemiologist.  I often think that I am sort of like their pet epidemiologist.  No one calls me “Doctor”, they call me. “Doc” or “Dokkie”.  I love my job and I love the people I work with.  Having ventured beyond veterinary into Public Health in 2013, I was silently nominated as the person to attend our National One Health Forums.  This year, the One Health Commission introduced a student competition: organize a One Health Day.

How we got the team together is a story of its own.  But, needless to say, we pulled it off…It always takes one special person to come up with an idea that is worth millions.  This special person is Henriette, a lecturer at Onderstepoort Veterinary Faculty, Department of Tropical Diseases.  She approached me and asked if I would be interested in updating and developing awareness material for selected zoonotic diseases that her student wanted to test for in an abattoir study.

Well, I know a good thing when I hear it, so I immediately agreed.  We then gathered students who were working on the different zoonotic diseases as the core component of the team and initiated the ‘student’ project.

Eighteen days to go.  We have already called up all the farmers that participated in my Brucellosis zoonotic study (we tested farm workers on positive brucellosis farms), and Brucellosis case control study.  We called ’emerging’ farmers started arranging transport for them.  Our provincial department of Health is coming along.  We even have the chairperson of the Red Meat Producers association and significant players in the private vet sector coming along.  Hmmmm, maybe it is because we offered them lunch….

I am so excited about this day and what it means to us as a province. I am so excited that I want to share this process as widely as possible.

Over the next few days, I will add to the site, the material we produced and the process we went through.  It is 12am, OMG, seventeen days to go!  I better sleep…