Activities & Achievements Supported by USAID


Memorandum of Understanding between Universiti Malaysia Sabah and EcoHealth Alliance was signed on 12th May 2015 to mark the official collaboration on studies related to health, economy, and environment through the creation of Development and Health Research Unit which is housed under the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.


Prof. Datuk Dr. Mohd Harun bin Abdullah (Former Vice-Chancellor Universiti Malaysia Sabah) and Dr. Peter Daszak (President of EcoHealth Alliance), signing MoU between Universiti Malaysia Sabah and EcoHealth Alliance.



The first DHRU conference was held on 14th May 2016 where 101 participants attended, including member of faculties from UMS, local government, industry, and NGO stakeholders involved in the IDEEAL project. Speakers include:-

  • Dr Peter Daszak, IDEEAL Chief of Party - “Land Use Change, Conservation and Health”
  • Dr Chua Tock Hing, Assoc Prof., Dept. of Pathobiology and Medical Diagnostics, Faculty Medicine and Health Sciences, UMS - “Land use change and P. knowlesi in Northern Sabah: The Monkeybar Project”
  • Dr Sen Nathan, Assistant Director Sabah Wildlife Department and Manager Wildlife Rescue Unit -  “Melioidosis, Land Use Change and Orangutans”
  • Dr Marilyn Maluda, Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, Department of State Health Sabah - “Land Use and Dengue”
  • Dr Hume Field, EcoHealth Alliance - “Hendra virus - an Emerging Zoonoses linked to Demographic Shifts in Eastern Australia”
  • Dr Lanash Thanda, BC Initiative - “Impact of Land Use Change on Rural Communities of Sabah”

Research and Publications

In October 2016, three students have been selected for the 2-year Masters research program at DHRU. They are:-

  • Jimmy Lee (EcoHealth Alliance) - "Zoonotic viruses in the illegally traded mammals: Sunda Pangolin (Manis javanica), Sunda slow loris (Nycticebus coucang) and Bornean slow loris (Nycticebus menagensis) from Malaysia"
  • Alice Mathews (BC Initiative) - "From bush to dinner table: understanding wild meat preparation and consumption by local communities"
  • Amy Lim (FMHS, UMS) - “Prevalence and associated environmental and social risk factors of worm infection among rural communities of Northern Sabah

On 5th August 2016, 3 DHRU Masters students’ abstracts for posters “Zoonotic Viruses Surveillance for the Confiscated Pangolins in Malaysia”, “Soil –Transmitted Helminths Among Rural Indigenous Children in Kota Marudu, Sabah” and “Wild Meat Consumption, Preparation and Perceptions of Health Risk in Local Communities” were accepted for presentation at the One Health EcoHealth conference in December 2016

Seminar and Trainings

On 18th July 2016, IDEEAL Chief of Party, Dr Peter Daszak gave a seminar at DHRU on grant writing entitled “Funding Science: Tips on grant-writing and fund-raising for scientific research projects”. This highly anticipated seminar was attended by 109 staff and students of UMS.

On 7th October 2016, Allison White, Research Scientist at EcoHealth Alliance, presented a talk on “Toolkit development and implementation with the IDEEAL project”, while IDEEAL Chief of Party, Dr Peter Daszak gave a seminar entitled “Communicating Science: Publishing your research and maximizing impact.” This seminar session was attended by 48 participants from Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences UMS, Department of State Health Sabah, WWF and BCI. The session was well received and future sessions are being planned.

Two ‘Introduction to R Software’ workshop were also conducted at DHRU on 23rd February (attended by 29 participants) and 18th August 2016 (attended by 15 participants).



Stakeholder meetings between the agencies involved in the IDEEAL project have been held seven times since the beginning of the project. The objectives of these meetings are to discuss the IDEEAL model, its limitations, and to acquire further data in order to refine the model as well as to present the latest simulations of the IDEEAL model using data on deforestation and prevalence of Malaria in Malaysia. Furthermore, the meeting also is meant to discuss the feedback received on IDEEAL Toolkit development and the plan for its dissemination.

  • Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM)
  • Natural Resources Office
  • Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority (SEDIA)
  • Sabah Department of Veterinary Services (Sabah DVS)
  • Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD)
  • Sabah Wildlife Ranger Unit (WRU)
  • Sabah Wildlife Health Unit (WHU)
  • Sabah Forestry Department (SFD)
  • Sabah State Health Department (SSHD)
  • World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)
  • BC Initiative (BCI)
  • Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Programme (HUTAN)
  • Living Landscape Alliance (LLA)
  • Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC)
  • Bornean Rhino Alliance (BORA)
  • Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC)
  • Partners of Community Organisations Sabah Trust (PACOS)
  • Faculty of Business, Economics and Accountancy (FPEP), UMS
  • Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS), UMS
  • Institute for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ITBC), UMS
  • Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Heritage (FKSW), UMS
  • Faculty of Science and Natural Resources (FFSA), UMS
  • Biotechnology Research Institute (BRI), UMS
  • Sabah Daily Express
  • Natural Resource Security, Directorate of Biodiversity Conservation, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Indonesia
  • Faculty of Public Health, University of Indonesia
  • Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Primate Research Center at Bogor Agricultural University
  • USAID Indonesia


Discussing the IDEEAL Project during 7th Stakeholder Meeting which was held on 20th September 2017



Two Industry Outreach meetings have been held to introduce the IDEEAL project to several industry players. The objective of this engagement is to present and discuss the IDEEAL model and to acquire further data from major industry players in order to refine the model. This was a good opportunity to present the latest simulations of the IDEEAL model using data on deforestation and prevalence of Malaria in Malaysia.

The industrial players that have been actively involved so far are:-

  • American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce
  • Yayasan Sime Darby (CSR for Sime Darby)
  • Sime Darby
  • Malaysian Palm Oil Council
  • Wilmar International Ltd
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Coca Cola
  • Proctor & Gamble
  • US Embassy



As of October 2015, 673 IDEEAL baseline surveys have been completed. The analysis of this data is ongoing where summary data and data stratified by gender, occupation will be used in health impacts toolkit to show current perceptions.

Meanwhile, 856 Deep Forest Human-Animal Contact surveys have been completed. Areas covered for these surveys are Telupid and Kinabatangan.



The activity’s health and land use change tool kit is being utilized in targeted outreach to communities in Sabah and peninsular Malaysia, and is available via the University Sabah Malaysia Development and Health Research Unit. The toolkit has been presented to 702 people from:-

Agricultural communities:-

  • IOI Morisem Plantation
  • Genting Plantation
  • Yu Kwang Plantation
  • Sepagaya Plantation
  • Genting Suan Lamba Oil Palm Plantation
  • Ribubonus Plantation

Oil palm industrial players:-

  • Wilmar International Ltd.
  • Sime Darby
  • Yayasan Sime Darby
  • Coca Cola
  • Malaysian Palm Oil Council
  • American Chamber of Commerce
  • Johnson & Johnson

Governmental agencies:-

  • National Public Health Laboratory, Ministry of Health
  • US Embassy

Non-governmental organisations:-

  • Yayasan IAR Indonesia
  • BC Initiatives

And over 52 communities across Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia through the life of project to date.