One Health: Not an Option but a Necessity | By Dr. M Uzair Mukhtar

One health: not an option but a necessity

MANY of us may have heard the term One Health (OH) for the first time. Before exploring why OH is gaining prominence, it is necessary to understand what OH is.

According to the World Health Organization, “Occupational health is an approach to designing and implementing programs, policies, legislation and research in which multiple sectors communicate and work together to achieve better health outcomes. of public health“.

A health approach recognizes that human health is closely linked to animal health and our common environment.

A health concept is not new; the question arises why OH now? To find an answer, we must inspect recent events in human diseases and developments in aspects related to the environment.

After review, the scientists agreed on several points, one of which is the fact that over the past three decades, about 75% of emerging human infectious diseases in the world are of animal origin.

More detailed studies have revealed that, in recent years, environmental health has affected human and animal health through contamination, pollution and poor conditions and has led to new infectious agents.

In recent years this has become more evident as many factors have changed the interaction between humans, animals, plants and our environment.

The importance of occupational health can be assessed from the fact that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA has included major health issues in occupational health.

Issues such as zoonotic diseases, antimicrobial resistance, food safety and security, vector-borne diseases, environmental contamination and other health threats shared by people, animals and animals. environment are included in OH.

Moreover, according to experts, the world population will increase from 7 billion to 9 billion by 2050.

In such a scenario, providing adequate healthcare, food and water to a growing population would be a challenge.

Pakistan is no different from other countries as zoonosis problems and unhealthy environmental conditions in the coming years are expected to increase along with the population.

This is why the health professions and their related disciplines and institutions need to work together.

A health gives us this opportunity. Let’s take a simple example of agricultural land irrigated by water polluted by industrial effluents.

Also, it is followed by indiscriminate use of synthetic pesticides to protect the crop from several harmful pests.

Sprayed crops land on the market for human or animal consumption. When used, traces of all these unwanted chemicals reach human and animal bodies, causing long-term adverse effects.

Meat from animals loaded with cocktails of antibiotics and unhealthy fodder is marketed for human consumption.

The use of the meat of these animals poses health problems in humans. This example clearly shows that animal health, public and plant health and the environment are the main players in the occupational health approach.

It doesn’t stop there because OH is so vast that people misunderstand that OH is about everything, therefore it is about nothing.

In fact, the approach and implementation of occupational health is needed in so many areas that it seems to be “everything”.

The list goes on and on, but there are a few areas that urgently need an occupational health approach at all levels of academia, government, industry, policy and research.

These may include antimicrobial resistance mitigation, zoonotic disease surveillance, prevention and response, food safety and the health impacts of climate change on animals, ecosystems and humans.

Recently, a three-day workshop on Occupational Health Promotion and Advocacy was organized by Pak One Health Alliance, Lahore University of Health Sciences, which I had the opportunity to attend on behalf of from the Institute of Public Health (IPH), Lahore.

On this occasion, experts from different sectors related to OH justified the above facts, that we should move to the OH approach and underlined the need to take concrete steps towards implementation.

There is no doubt that the OH approach has the potential to produce more interdisciplinary programs in education, training and research.

It can also allow for greater sharing of information related to disease detection and diagnosis. But the question on the table is “who will put the show on the road”?

—The author is Assistant Professor, Department of Medical Entomology and Institute of Public Health Parasitology, Lahore.

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