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One Health A look at the new Joint Plan of Action

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One Health

A look at the new Joint Plan of Action

What is One Health?
One Health is the main approach for addressing the complex health challenges facing our society, such as ecosystem degradation, food system failures, infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance. It is an integrated, unifying approach to balance and optimize the health of the people, animals and the environment. It is particularly important to prevent, predict, detect and respond to global health threats such as the Covid-19 pandemic.
The approach mobilizes multiple sectors, disciplines and communities at varying levels of society to work together. This way, new and better ideas are developed that address root causes and create long-term, sustainable solutions.
Importance
One Health is not new, but it has become more important in recent years. This is because many factors have changed interactions between people, animals, plants and our environment.
1. Human populations are growing and expanding into new geographic areas. As a result, more people live in close contact with wild and domestic animals, both livestock and pets. Animals play an important role in our lives, whether for food, fiber, livelihoods, travel, sport, education or companionship. Close contact with animals and their environments provides more opportunities for diseases to pass between animals and people.
2. The earth has experienced changes in climate and land use, such as deforestation and intensive farming practices. Disruptions in environmental conditions and habitats can provide new opportunities for diseases to pass to animals.
3. The movement of people, animals and animal products has increased from international travel and trade. As a result, diseases can spread quickly across borders and around the globe.
Highlights of the Action Plan
1. The One Health Joint Plan of Action was developed in response to international requests to prevent future pandemics and to promote health sustainably through the One Health approach.
2. It outlines the commitment of the Quadripartite organizations to collectively advocate and support the implementation of One Health.
3. It builds on, complements and adds value to existing global and regional One Health and coordination initiatives aimed at strengthening capacity to address complex multidimensional health risks with more resilient health systems at global, regional and national levels.
4. The Joint Plan of Action, developed through a participatory process, provides a set of activities that aim to strengthen collaboration, communication, capacity building and coordination. These will be equally applicable across all sectors responsible for addressing health concerns.
5. The plan focuses on expanding capacities on emerging and re-emerging zoonotic epidemics; endemic zoonotic, neglected tropical and vector-borne diseases; food safety risks; antimicrobial resistance; and on the environment.
6. It is valid from 2022-2026 and is aimed at mitigating health challenges at global, regional, and country levels.
Six key areas
Six key areas were focused on in the plan are:
1. One Health capacity for health systems
2. Emerging and re-emerging zoonotic epidemics
3. Endemic zoonotic
4. Neglected tropical and vector-borne diseases
5. Antimicrobial resistance and the environment
6. Food safety risks
Challenges
To implement One Health, major structural changes are required to integrate the human, animal and environmental health fields and support multi-sectoral communication, collaboration, coordination and capacity strengthening. Critical gaps in One Health implementation include:
a. databases and resources to support information sharing and action in line with a One Health approach;
b. identification and showcasing of best practice examples for One Health implementation;
c. mapping of existing initiatives and capacities for One Health research and building the next generation One Health workforce;
d. a model for an integrated One Health surveillance system;
e. mechanisms for routine and emergency coordination with relevant stakeholders;
f. a more complete understanding of the drivers of spillover of zoonotic diseases (transmitted between animals and humans). This includes animal trade, agriculture, livestock farming, urbanization and habitat fragmentation;
g. a standardized approach for assessing risks of spillover of pathogens between different animal populations and humans, and emergence of zoonotic diseases, including those arising in food systems; and
h. methods for identifying and reducing spillover risks and spread of zoonotic diseases in ways that minimize trade-offs and maximize co-benefits with other health and sustainable development objectives.

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