Our Story

In 2004, Thailand and Vietnam were at the epicenter of a bird flu outbreak that killed more than 50 people, sickened hundreds, and resulted in an economic loss of roughly $1.7 billion. Chiang Mai University’s (CMU) College of Veterinary Medicine, believed that Thailand needed a new kind of disease detection system.

 The system that CMU envisioned was the embodiment of a “One Health” approach, recognizing the deep interconnectedness of humans, animals, and the ecosystems they share. This system should make reporting and responding to both human and animal outbreaks routine and easy by empowering local citizens and their governments to play a leading role in these critical tasks.

CMU’s vision became a reality when they partnered with Ending Pandemics , a supporter of integrating the One Health approach into disease surveillance. In 2014 Ending Pandemics and CMU partnered with Opendream , a Bangkok-based technology social enterprise to host an epidemiology hackathon in Chiang Mai to explore what the system might look like. Out of the event came numerous prototypes, and four months later, Ending Pandemics announced a two-year $2m grant to Chiang Mai University to create and operationalize the Participatory One Health Disease Detection (PODD) system with Opendream's support.

Since 2014, the PODD project has successfully recorded over 400,000 reports and successfully prevented widespread transmission in more than 100 animal outbreaks (36 incidents have been verified as dangerous zoonotic diseases that could spread to humans and cause pandemics).

 In 2021, PODD won the Grand Prize at The Trinity Challenge from a prestigious international panel of expert judges, and was awarded US$1.8 million to bring our unique participatory surveillance approach to more countries. 

The multidisciplinary team behind PODD eventually created the One Health Surveillance Toolkit based on our years of experience in the field, to provide a foundation for other countries to benefit from affordable and effective One Health surveillance.