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Defence & Security
- GS 3 || Governance & Social Justice || Human Development || Health
Why in the news?
Human health is linked to animal & environmental health.
What is One Health Concept?
- The One Health concept is a global plan for increasing interdisciplinary collaboration and communication in all aspects of human, animal, and environmental health care.
- The One Health concept recognises the interconnections between zoonotic illnesses, environmental challenges, food security, antimicrobial resistance, and animal and human health threats.
- It recognises that a one-size-fits-all strategy will fail, and that human health is inextricably linked to animal health and our common environment.
The rationale behind the Concept:
- Increasing interaction and spreading diseases:Human populations are increasing and spreading into new places. As a result, more people interact with wild and domestic animals, including livestock and pets.Close interaction with animals and their environs increases the chances of disease transmission between animals and humans.
- Changes in climate and land use, such as deforestation and intensive farming methods, have occurred on the planet.Changes in the environment and habitats can create new opportunities for illnesses to spread to animals.
- International travel and trade have increased the mobility of people, animals, and animal products.As a result, diseases quickly spread across national borders and around the world.Currently, over 75% of all emergent human infectious diseases in the last three decades had their origins in animals.
- Animals are the source of more than two-thirds of new infectious illnesses. COVID-19, Zika virus, Ebola virus, avian flu, SARS, MERS, West Nile virus, Lyme disease, and yellow fever are examples of zoonotic diseases. Many frequent foodborne diseases caused by Salmonella, E. coli, Campylobacter, and other pathogens have animal origins and are a major cause of sickness around the world.
- Many of the environmental factors that contribute to zoonotic disease outbreaks in humans and animals include deforestation, agriculture intensification, biodiversity loss, and climate-related flooding and droughts.
- As a result, global disease experts have realised that managing the growing threat of new zoonotic illnesses requires a One Health approach.
How does a One Health approach work?
- Viable strategy:One Health is gaining traction around the world as a viable strategy for combating health challenges at the human-animal-environment interface, such as zoonotic illnesses.
- Human, animal, and environmental health partners must work together for successful public health interventions. Human health professionals (doctors, nurses, public health practitioners, epidemiologists), animal health professionals (veterinarians, paraprofessionals, agricultural workers), environmental professionals (ecologists, wildlife experts), and others must communicate, collaborate, and coordinate activities.
- Stakeholders in a One Health strategy: Law enforcement, legislators, farmers, communities, and even pet owners may all be important stakeholders in a One Health strategy. Issues at the animal-human-environment interaction cannot be addressed by a single individual, institution, or sector.
- Increasing collaboration:A One Health approach can produce the highest health results for people, animals, and plants in a shared environment by increasing collaboration across all sectors.
Potential Outcomes from the One Health Approach
- More multidisciplinary education, training, research, and policy-making programmes.
- Greater exchange of disease detection, diagnostic, education, and research data.
- More disease prevention, both infectious and chronic.
- Research and development of new cures and treatment methods.
India’s framework, plans for One Health:
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO):India’s ‘One Health’ vision is based on an agreement between 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 backed by UNICEF and the World Bank with the overarching goal of contributing to ‘One World’.
- Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD):In the 1950s, the OneHealth approach was essential in identifying the source of Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD), a highly deadly haemorrhagic fever that was even more dangerous than COVID-19. The Virus Research Centre (now known as the National Institute of Virology) in Pune, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Bombay Natural History Society collaborated to achieve this.
- National Standing Committee:India formed a National Standing Committee on Zoonoses in the 1980s, in order to achieve long-term goals. This year, money were approved for the establishment of a ‘Centre for One Health’ in Nagpur.
- Prevalence of animal diseases:Additionally, since 2015, the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying (DAHD) has launched several schemes to reduce the prevalence of animal diseases, with a funding pattern of 60:40 (Centre: State); 90:10 for the Northeastern States; and 100 percent funding for Union Territories.
- Assistance to States:DAHD will also soon establish a ‘One Health’ unit within the Ministry. In addition, the government is aiming to overhaul programmes like Assistance to States for Control of Animal Diseases, which focuses on veterinary capacity building and modernising the animal health diagnostic system (ASCAD).
- States/Union Territories:The revised component of support to States/Union Territories places a greater emphasis on livestock disease immunisation and backyard poultry. State biological production units and illness diagnostic laboratories will receive help in this regard.
- National Action Plan: The World Health Organization estimates that rabies (a zoonotic illness) costs the world economy $6 billion each year. Given that dogs are responsible for 97 percent of human rabies cases in India, measures for disease management in dogs are deemed critical. In the National Action Plan for Eliminating Dog-Mediated Rabies, DAHD collaborated with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. This effort aims to eliminate rabies in the country through widespread dog vaccines and public education.
Need and significance of One Health Concept:
- Disease risk: Human populations are increasing and expanding into new locations. As a result, more people interact with wild and domestic animals, including livestock and pets. Animals play a vital role in our daily lives. Close interaction with animals and their environs increases the chances of disease transmission between animals and humans.
- Temperature change: The earth’s climate and land use have changed as a result of deforestation and intensive farming methods. Changes in the environment and habitats might create new opportunities for illnesses to spread to animals.
- Global movement: International travel and trade have boosted the movement of people, animals, and animal products. As a result, diseases can quickly spread across national borders and around the world.
- Collaborative effort: Because animals and humans inhabit the same environments, many of the same microorganisms infect them. A single sector’s efforts will not be enough to avert or eliminate the problem. For example, rabies in humans can be efficiently averted by focusing on the virus’s animal source (for example, by vaccinating dogs).
- Fighting disease threats: Food safety, zoonotic disease control (diseases that can transfer between animals and humans, such as flu, rabies, and Rift Valley Fever), and antibiotic resistance are all areas where a One Health strategy is particularly useful.
- Viral agent information: Knowing what viruses are circulating in animals is critical for selecting viruses for human vaccinations in the event of a pandemic.
- A well-coordinated strategy: Because drug-resistant bacteria can be spread between animals and humans through direct contact or contaminated food, a well-coordinated approach in humans and animals is essential to successfully contain it.
- Disease Surveillance Consolidation: There is a need to combine existing animal health and disease surveillance systems, such as the National Animal Disease Reporting System and the Information Network for Animal Productivity and Health.
- Guidelines for Development: Developing best-practice recommendations for informal market and slaughterhouse operations (e.g., inspections, disease prevalence assessments), as well as procedures to operationalize ‘One Health’ at all levels down to the village level..
- Holistic Collaboration: Because of their multidisciplinary nature, One Health programmes necessitate collaboration across ministries, as well as overcoming tacit institutional hierarchies and allocating leadership roles.
- As a result, One Health consortia necessitate the cooperation and active participation of individuals, communities, and society.
- Furthermore, champions from all industries must be developed who can agree on similar goals. In terms of political, financial, and administrative accountability, this will encourage innovation, adaptation, and flexibility.
- Establishing Institutional Mechanisms: Several cross-cutting projects are already underway in India to develop guidelines for a database of zoonotic disease research.
- However, there is no one agency or structure that brings together all trans disciplinary sectorial stakeholders under one roof to advance the ‘One Health’ agenda; thus, a proper institutional mechanism to implement the One Health concept must be established.
Human, animal, and environmental health partners must work together for successful public health interventions. Human health professionals (doctors, nurses, public health practitioners, epidemiologists), animal health professionals (veterinarians, paraprofessionals, agricultural workers), environmental professionals (ecologists, wildlife experts), and others must communicate, collaborate, and coordinate activities. A One Health approach can provide the highest health results for people, animals, and plants in a shared environment by increasing collaboration across all sectors.
Mains oriented question:
As the globe faces a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, the One Health concept is becoming increasingly relevant. Comment. (200 words)