One Health Approach

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    Recent discussions, which took place around World Veterinary Day, have focused on acknowledging the “One Healthapproach and also suggested using the battle against Covid-19 as an opportunity to meet India’s targets in this regard.

    About One Health Approach

    • It is an approach to design and implement programmes, policies, legislation and research in which multiple sectors communicate and work together to achieve better public health outcomes.
    • It focuses on the interconnectedness of animals, humans and the environment.
    • It is particularly relevant in food safety, the control of zoonoses (diseases that can spread between animals and humans) and combating antibiotic resistance (when bacteria change after being exposed to antibiotics and become more difficult to treat).
      • Studies indicate that more than two-thirds of existing and emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic, or can be transferred between animals and humans, and vice versa, when the pathogen in question originates in any life form but circumvents the species barrier.
        • The Nipah virus, Ebola, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), Avian Influenza and the ongoing Covid-19 are few of the major examples of transboundary impact of viral outbreaks in recent years.
    • Need
      • Many of the same microbes infect animals and humans, as they share the ecosystems they live in so efforts by just one sector cannot prevent or eliminate the problem fully.
        • For instance, Rabies in humans is effectively prevented only by targeting the animal source of the virus which are dogs.
      • Information on influenza viruses circulating in animals is crucial to the selection of viruses for human vaccines for potential influenza pandemics. 
      • Drug-resistant microbes can be transmitted between animals and humans through direct contact between animals and humans or through contaminated food, so to effectively contain it, a well-coordinated approach in humans and in animals is required.
    • Stakeholders
    • Methodology
      • Stakeholders promote multi-sectoral responses to food safety hazards, risks from zoonoses, and other public health threats at the human-animal-ecosystem interface and provide guidance on how to reduce these risks.
      • To effectively detect, respond to, and prevent outbreaks of zoonoses and food safety problems, epidemiological data and laboratory information should be shared across sectors.
      • Government officials, researchers and workers across sectors at the local, national, regional and global levels should implement joint responses to health threats.

    (Image Courtesy: CDC)

    Steps by India for One Health Targets

    • India established a National Standing Committee on Zoonoses in the 1980s.
    • In February 2020, funds were allocated for setting up of the Centre for One Health at Nagpur.
    • Further, the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying (DAHD), under the Ministry of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, has launched several schemes to mitigate the prevalence of animal diseases since 2015.
      • Under the National Animal Disease Control Programme, Rs. 13,343 crore have been sanctioned for Foot and Mouth disease and Brucellosis control.
      • It will also establish a ‘One Health’ unit within the Ministry.
      • It has partnered with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in the National Action Plan for Eliminating Dog-Mediated Rabies.
        • This initiative is geared towards sustained mass dog vaccinations and public education to render the country free of rabies.
    • The government is revamping Assistance to States for Control of Animal Diseases (ASCAD).
      • ASCAD focuses on capacity building for veterinarians and upgrading the animal health diagnostic system.
    • There is increased focus on vaccination against livestock diseases and backyard poultry and assistance is extended to State biological production units and disease diagnostic laboratories.
    • Challenges
      • Veterinary manpower shortages.
      • Lack of information sharing between human and animal health institutions.
      • Inadequate coordination on food safety at slaughter, distribution, and retail facilities.
      • Risk of more pandemics as more than 1.7 million viruses circulating in wildlife with potential threats to human health.
    • Suggestions
      • There is a need for better and strong coordination between all stakeholders and agencies.
      • Existing animal health and disease surveillance systems should be consolidated.
        • The Information Network for Animal Productivity and Health and the National Animal Disease Reporting System are developing best-practice guidelines for informal market and slaughterhouse operation and creating mechanisms to operationalise ‘One Health’ at every stage down to the village level.
      • Awareness generation and increased investments are needed toward meeting ‘One Health’ targets.
    World Veterinary Day

    • Its celebration was started in 2000 as an annual celebration of the veterinary professionals.
    • Every year, it is celebrated on the last Saturday of April month.
      • In 2021, it was celebrated on the 24th April.
    • Theme for 2021: The Veterinarian Response to the Covid-19 Crisis.
    • Objectives
      • To promote animal health and welfare.
      • To highlight and promote the lifesaving work performed by veterinarians all over the world.

    World Veterinary Association

    • The first International Veterinary Congress was held in 1863 under the leadership of Dr. J. Gamgee, which was later converted into the World Veterinary Association (WVA) as it is currently known.
    • WVA is is the umbrella organization for international associations of veterinarians working in different areas of veterinary medicine and National Veterinary Associations.
    • It organises a biannual congress in different parts of the world.
    • It focuses on climate change mitigation, responsible and wise use of natural resources, and ensures proper disposal of medicines.

    Source: TH