One Health challenges in Africa
Recent global disease events have highlighted the impact of zoonoses on human and animal health. According to the World Bank, zoonotic diseases account for more than one billion cases and a million deaths per year. It is clear that cooperative solutions are needed to address biological threats and thus global health security.
A holistic, One Health approach is needed to strengthen public health systems. Especially since we have entered a new era of emerging and recurring global health threats that call for a longer-term, more strategic approach.
Across the African continent, successful initiatives have been set up, engaging public health practitioners, scientists, policy makers and workforce. Yet, these initiatives are often suboptimally connected and integrated.
About Africa CDC
Established in January 2017, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) is a new public health agency of the African Union. Africa CDC seeks to make Africa safer and healthier by strengthening Africa’s health institutions, particularly its national public health institutes (NPHIs). More information about the Africa CDC is to be found at these webpages: africacdc.org
The 1st International One Health Forum in Africa
One Health presents a specific challenge for national public health institutes in Africa, due to the lack of an Africa-wide consensus for the public health practice of One Health, including surveillance and disease control.
The 1st International One Health Forum will therefore focus on strengthening the public health practice of national public health institutes (NPHIs) in Africa by assembling representatives from existing One Health initiatives and networks. Substantial work on building consensus for One Health public health practice has already been done by WHO, FAO, OIE, US CDC, and other partners. In addition, many African countries have conducted disease prioritization workshops and initiated programmes for surveillance and control of specific zoonotic diseases. While NPHIs serve the human health sector, the Forum will ensure adequate representation from animal and environmental sectors to reach balanced recommendations for prioritization, surveillance, and risk assessment with input from all relevant sectors.
Three questions will be at the core of the 1st International One Health Forum:
1. What are the top zoonotic diseases of importance across the African continent?
2. How should NPHIs conduct surveillance for a selection or all of these priority zoonotic diseases?
3. How do NPHIs assess the risk of zoonotic cases and clusters in collaboration with animal and environmental sectors?
The proceedings of the 1st International One Health Forum will be published as a special issue of Public Health in Africa, the Africa CDC Journal. An easy to grasp report will be developed and disseminated by the One Health Platform.
The programme of the 1st International One Health Forum can be found here