One Health approach ‘key’ to repelling future threats
Carroll: The next generation must be prepared for future pandemics
From Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) to Covid-19, health authorities around the world have highlighted the need to improve capacity through the One Health approach as a means of protecting the global population from future pandemics.
As health issues become increasingly complex given deteriorating environmental conditions and climate change, delegates told a recent international conference by One Health University of Southeast Asia ( SEAOHUN) 2022 in Bangkok that the world should forge a One Health approach to address future health threats.
More than 300 health practitioners, educators and researchers from 30 countries gathered at the SEAOHUN 2022 international conference to brainstorm ways to improve their ability to fight infectious diseases.
In his keynote address “One Health in the Age of Pandemics and Climate Change”, Dennis Carroll, Chairman of the Board of the Global Virome Project, said that human health, animal health and their ecosystems are closely linked.
Drastic environmental changes caused by global warming threaten humanity with higher risks of new emerging infectious diseases and other health threats, he said.
“As Covid-19 will not be the last pandemic the world will face, the next generation must be prepared for the pandemics to come,” Dr Carroll said.
“Given the health risks associated with climate change, One Health Vision could be the answer by creating platforms that will improve the next generation’s capabilities to ensure the well-being of the world’s population, not just physical health or mental.”
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), One Health is an integrated and unifying approach that aims to balance and optimize the health of people, animals and ecosystems, which can help address the full spectrum of disease control (from prevention to detection, preparedness, response and management), and also contribute to global health security.
Smith: Climate change driving the spread of infectious diseases
Dr. Woutrina Smith, manager of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) One Health Workforce-Next Generation project, said that climate change, economic development, land use, mining energy and globalization are driving the emergence and spread of infectious diseases. diseases.
All of these factors contribute to new challenges such as emergence of zoonotic diseases, distribution of pathogens, health disparities, health and safety of food and water, loss of wildlife habitat , environmental contamination and diagnostic limitations.
Due to the complexity of the One Health approach, Dr Smith said the WHO has launched a skills-based education program to help countries in Southeast Asia improve their health systems and strengthen their public health workforce.
This two-year project, which began in January last year, aims to increase the knowledge, attitude and practice of One Health among stakeholders to help the region better prepare for future threats to health.
“With support from USAID, 113 participating universities under SEAOHUN and the Africa One Health University Network have joined this endeavor, over 40,000 people have been trained, 282 activities carried out and 60 partnerships formed under the network One Health, which will help prepare system health for new infectious diseases and silent pandemics like antimicrobial resistance,” she said.
This project not only targets practicing healthcare professionals, but it also aims to educate school-aged children and teachers about One Health.
Marilyn Crane, a USAID representative, said frontline workers have been trained and are now showing an understanding of the One Health concept.
Then deeper engagement is needed with community health workers, universities, medical equipment vendors, lab technicians and non-traditional health workers.
“A new development strategy is to increase the participation of young people, so that they can develop collective leadership,” she said.
Vipat: Universities can also help solve complex One Health issues
Dr. Vipat Kuruchittham, Executive Director of SEAOHUN, said universities can also help build the capacity of professionals from all sectors to address complex One Health issues, conduct research and help governments build their capacity. of public health.
Meanwhile, Dr Ruangwit Thamaree, of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, said his company was working with universities to design microbiological monitoring courses, in addition to an antimicrobial stewardship plan (AMS) that can serve as guidelines. for all AMS teams.
“To combat antimicrobial resistance, a comprehensive package of prevention and microbiological surveillance measures is needed in infection control, in addition to vaccines,” Dr Ruangwit said.
“As the world prepares for new challenges, this fight is not meant to be a one-person fight, but a collective mission in which every sector must work together to ensure a secure future for our next generations.”