January 1, 2017
* In July 2014, Skoll Global Threats Fund (SGTF) gave a $2 million, two-year grant to Chiang Mai University in Thailand to create the Participatory One Health Disease Detection (PODD) project—a first-of-its-kind community-owned pandemic surveillance and response system. SGTF issued a second grant in July 2016 to help scale the program to other regions in Thailand.* The goal of PODD is to enable early detection of animal-borne (zoonotic) disease outbreaks and prevent them from becoming pandemics. The grant funded the development and launch of a Thai-built mobile app that local volunteers use to report suspected outbreaks and other dangerous events, as well as the development of a protocol for coordinating fast evaluation and response among local government officials, veterinarians, and public health experts.* The PODD program had 300 trained local volunteers at launch, growing to more than 4,600 volunteers two years later.* Within the first few months, volunteers reported more animal disease events in those districtsusing PODD than had been reported in the whole province of Chiang Mai in the previous year. Within 16 months, 1,340 abnormal events were reported. Among those, a total of 36 incidents of dangerous zoonotic diseases were verified.* The early detection of one case of foot-and mouth disease, stopped before it could spread, saved $4 million.* PODD volunteers are now also using the system to report a range of other hazards, from fraudulent medication sales to landslides and flash floods.* In July 2016, Chiang Mai University transferred ownership of the PODD tool to the Thai government, which, with additional funding, could expand the project to additional provinces and eventually nationwide.