One Health is an approach recognising that the health of people is connected to the health of animals and the environment. The goal of One Health is to encourage the collaborative, cross-sectoral efforts of multiple disciplines – working locally, nationally, and globally – to achieve the best health for people, animals, and our environment.
Collaborating across sectors that have a direct or indirect impact on health involves thinking and working across silos and optimising resources and efforts to improve health and well-being through the prevention of risks and the mitigation of effects of crises that originate at the interface between humans, animals and their various environments. One Health aims to promote a “whole of society” approach to health hazards, as a systemic change of perspective in the management of risk.
Experts state that a One Health approach is important because 6 out of every 10 infectious diseases in humans are spread from animals. ‘One Health’ has emerged over the last decade as a key concept guiding international research and policy in the field of emerging infectious diseases such as zoonoses.
One Health gained international strength with the outbreak of avian influenza in the first half of the 2000s, and the development of an international response led by international organisations (including the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Animal Health Organisation (OIE), with oversight from the UN System Influenza Coordination Office). This helped the global community realise that to handle a zoonotic outbreak of such potential significance, both institutional cooperation and a more integrated approach was needed.
One Health as defined by the One Health Commission
One Health is the collaborative effort of multiple health science professions, together with their related disciplines and institutions – working locally, nationally, and globally – to attain optimal health for people, domestic animals, wildlife, plants, and our environment.
- Planetary Environmental health may affect human and animal health through contamination, pollution and changing climate conditions that may lead to emergence of new infectious agents.
- Worldwide, nearly 75 percent of all emerging human infectious diseases in the past three decades originated in animals.
- The world population is projected to grow from 7 billion in 2011 to 9 billion by 2050.
- To provide adequate healthcare, food and water for the growing global population, the health professions, and their related disciplines and institutions, must work together.
- Human-animal interactions / bonds can beneficially impact the health of both people and animals.
Scope of One Health
- Convergence of human, animal, and plant health and the health of the environment
- Human-animal bond
- Professional education and training of the Next Generation of One Health professionals
- Research, both basic and translational
- Ensuring a safe food and water supply that is high quality, available and affordable
- Agricultural production and land use/soil health
- Natural resources and conservation
- Disease surveillance, prevention and response, both infectious and chronic diseases
- Comparative Medicine: commonality of diseases among people and animals, such as cancer, obesity, and diabetes
- Clinical medicine needs for interrelationship between the health professions
- Environmental agent detection and response
- Disaster preparedness and response
- Public policy and regulation