Holistic Approach to ‘One Health’ 

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    Syllabus : GS 2/Governance  

    The concept of ‘One Health’ is currently gaining popularity worldwide.

    • It is an integrated, unifying approach that aims to sustainably balance and optimize the health of people, animals and ecosystems.
    • It recognizes that the health of humans, domestic and wild animals, plants, and the wider environment (including ecosystems) are closely linked and interdependent.
      • An early articulation can be found in the writings of Hippocrates (460-367 BC), who contemplated the relationships between public health and clean environments.
    • Reduce potential threats at the human-animal-environment interface to control diseases that spread between animals and humans
    • Tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR)
    • Ensure food safety 
    • Prevent environment-related health threats to humans and animals 
    • Protect biodiversity 
    • ‘India with its diverse wildlife, one of the largest livestock populations and high density of human population, carries heightened risks for inter-compartmental spread of diseases. 
    • Covid pandemic, recent outbreaks of Lumpy Skin Disease in cattle and the constant threat of Avian Influenza show that it is not just about addressing diseases from human health point of view (zoonosis) but There is  need to address the livestock and wildlife aspects.
      • This also opens opportunities for leveraging the complementarity and strengths that is inherent in each sector and devising integrated, robust and agile response systems.
    • India’s ‘One Health’ vision derives its blueprint from the agreement between the tripartite-plus alliance comprising the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) — a global initiative supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Bank under the overarching goal of contributing to ‘One World, One Health’.
    • National One Health Mission: In July 2022, the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology, and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC) endorsed the setting up of the ‘National One Health Mission’. 
    • G-20 : During India’s presidency of the G-20, “One Health  was widely endorsed by all the members to work together in specific areas such as building better surveillance capacity etc.
    • The Integrated Disease Surveillance Project, launched in 2004 for disease outbreak detection and rapid response functions, has generated several information on flow of certain disease outbreaks but the programme has been unable to integrate human and animal (livestock and wildlife) surveillance. 
    • A multi-disciplinary Road Map to Combat Zoonoses (2008) was laid to create an integrated mechanism for surveillance, detection and treatment of zoonoses. 
    • The Government of India decided to set up a dedicated centre under ICMR to contain zoonotic diseases — the Centre for One Health at Nagpur
    • The Department of Biotechnology launched India’s first consortium on One Health in October 2021.
      •  It brings together 27 organisations from several ministries and plans to assess the burden of five transboundary animal diseases and 10 select zoonotic diseases.  
    • Insufficient financial resources from the government
    • Low-risk awareness of zoonotic activities at all the level
    • Lack of organised institutions and a proper and legal framework.
    • Bureaucracy and coordination challenges
    • Lack of interest of health experts in the “one health” concept
    • Lack of communication with the community
    • One Health approach can emerge as a strong tool for international cooperation in the coming decades, as countries across the world are working towards its implementation in their respective national policies.
    • Now ,It is becoming increasingly evident that human health and planetary health are deeply interlinked, and India must integrate them while guaranteeing the right to health for all its citizens.
    • A nexus of science, social science, indigenous knowledge and policy at national, state and local levels can put forward strategies and institutions for implementation of One Health.
    • Focused R&D can ensure that we are better prepared for emerging diseases through the development of tools such as vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics, that is critical for India and the world. 
    • All these efforts can become effective only when there is close coordination between the Centre and States.
    • India has to augment its epidemiology and data analytic capability. 
    • ‘One Health’ requires close engagement of not just different governmental agencies but also non-governmental organisations, academia, the private sector and also citizens. 
    Mains Practise Question
    [Q] Define the concept of ‘One Health’  which is currently gaining popularity worldwide.How One Health  can help India and the world  respond better to health crises?