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ONE HEALTH DAY 2019

November 3, 2019, marks the fourth annual One Health Day, a global campaign that celebrates and brings attention to the need for a One Health approach to address shared health threats at the human-animal-environment interface.

It was initiated in 2016 by the One Health Commission, the One Health Platform, and the One Health Initiative Team, International One Health Day is officially celebrated around the world every year on November 3.

To celebrate #OneHealthDay, we had a Tweetchat with Dr. Babatunde Saka; he is a public health specialist with a special interest in disease epidemiology and prevention.

INTRODUCTION

It is becoming more obvious that the answer to complex global health problems rests on interdisciplinary, intersectoral expertise and cooperation from every aspect of the society.

One Health is the coming together of multiple disciplines and sectors working locally, nationally and globally to attain optimal health for people, animals and the environment. One Health provides the chances to recognize mutual concerns, set common goals, and drive towards team work to benefit the overall health of the state. One Health is the fusion of human, animal and environment (including plants) to design a strategy to combat health challenges in the world.

Zoonotic diseases which are diseases transmissible from animal to human and vice versa have been responsible for three quarters of infectious and transmissible diseases in human and responsible for 60% of haemorrhagic disease outbreaks worldwide. Plant diseases have led to food scarcity along with other socio-economic problems and driven people to consume health challenging items as well as render the immune system compromised and easily overcome by the least of exposure. Therefore, the health of the people and economy are highly dependent on the health of its environment. Thus, developing and sustaining a One Health strategic plan to meet human, animal and environmental health challenges has become imperative. This approach will drive innovations that are important to solve both acute and chronic health problems and offer synergy across systems, leading to an enhanced communication, empirical solutions, development of a new generation of systems-thinkers, improved surveillance, decreased lag time in response, and improved health and economic savings.

There are growing efforts in research and education for the investigation of diseases along the One Health corridor. However, the greatest threat to a successful application of the One Health Paradigm is insufficient design mechanism for the integration of different components into Public Health beyond research works.

What to do

It is therefore important to investigate the ways of integrating One Health into community medicine and public health. This will explain the concept of One Health and create a better understanding of the concept to practitioners across board. It will also elicit thoughts on the identification of the strategies for appropriate One Health entry points and what needs to be changed in the public health system to truly facilitate a One Health approach.

CHALLENGES TO ONE H

Barriers to implementing this strategy include competition over budget, poor communication, and the need for improved technology (Nyatanyi et al., 2017).

Although the concept of controlling zoonotic diseases at source is desired, there is gross under-funding of the animal health sector in vital requirements for appropriate surveillance and reporting of animal diseases and laboratory diagnosis. Additionally, surveillance programmes are quite resource demanding and convincing policy makers of the benefit of planning and investing in animal surveillance for public health enhancement is often challenged where data on burden of zoonoses are not available and the threat not immediately apparent or not an existing emerging disease threat (Munyua et al., 2019).

Reference

Nyatanyi T, Wilkes M, McDermott H, et al. Implementing One Health as an integrated approach to health in RwandaBMJ Global Health 2017;2:e000121.

Munyua, P.M., Njenga, M.K., Osoro, E.M. et al. Successes and challenges of the One Health approach in Kenya over the last decade. BMC Public Health 19, 465 (2019) doi:10.1186/s12889-019-6772-7a

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