One Health: a beacon of hope for the future world – The European Sting – Critical News & Insights on European Politics, Economy, Foreign Affairs, Business & Technology
This article was written exclusively for The European Sting by Ms. Jannatul Ferdous Tonny, fourth year medical student at Sylhet MAG Osmani Medical College, Bangladesh. It is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA), a cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this article are strictly the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of IFMSA on the subject, nor of The European Sting.
The concept of âOne Healthâ describes the idea that human and animal health are interconnected and linked to the health of the ecosystems in which they live. One Health provides the opportunity to recognize shared interests, set common goals, and foster teamwork for the benefit of the overall health of the world.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one or more new infectious diseases have appeared each year since the 1970s. The majority of these were zoonoses. Zoonotic pathogens can be bacterial, viral or parasitic, or can involve unconventional agents and can be spread to humans through direct contact or through food, water or the environment. 60% of pathogens that cause human disease come from domestic animals or wildlife and 75% of emerging human pathogens are of animal origin. Recent examples of new and emerging diseases in animals and humans (Covid-19, Ebola, Middle East respiratory syndrome, avian influenza (H5N1), swine influenza (H1NI), severe acute respiratory syndrome) show how The balance is rapidly changing and how vulnerable humans are, animals and crops are at the center of disease.
With the complexity of diseases and their emergence & spread in an increasingly globalized world, it is essential to find effective strategies to control them at their source in order to reduce their potentially devastating impact on health. This can only happen through multisectoral collaboration; with well-structured and resilient health systems that prioritize prevention. Known as One Health, this approach has garnered increasing attention over the past decade among policymakers, practitioners and funders seeking more effective prevention, control and treatment responses in an increasingly populated and globalized world.
The problem, however, is that significant gaps remain in the implementation of the One Health approach at subnational administrative levels; there are sustainability issues, competing priorities and funding gaps.
A major challenge in implementing the One Health approach in developing countries is the weak links between the different ministries and agencies responsible for human and animal health and the environment.
An interdepartmental, multi-agency approach to policymaking, surveillance, epidemic response, prevention and control could set the stage towards institutionalizing effective collaboration One Health in Government and partners. The One Health approach can also contribute to food safety and other national priorities encompassed in the health, nutrition and population sector, which can ultimately lead us to achieve the global health agenda. .
The current COVID-19 pandemic is a devastating reminder that mitigating the threat of emerging zoonotic epidemics rests on our collective ability to work in human health, animal health and the environment.
A One Health approach can achieve the best health outcomes for people, animals and plants in a shared environment. Let’s make our future world safer for us by promoting collaboration in all sectors.
About the Author
Jannatul Ferdous Tonny is a fourth year medical student at Sylhet MAG Osmani Medical College, Bangladesh. She is a member of the SCORE Supervisory Board of IFMSA and also works as National Research Exchange Manager of BMSS, an NMO of IFMSA. She believes in making changes for the advancement of the future world. Her passion for medicine makes her praise herself for better accessibility to healthcare, preventive health and empowerment of the public with accurate and reliable medical information. She has great expertise in facilitating sessions on promoting research and learning. She embarked on a plan to change the roots of research teaching.