November 3rd is One Health Day. This is a day that resonates with me, although I have to admit I wouldn’t have said that 10 years ago. My views on disease control, health, and welfare have really changed a lot from the days when I was a veterinary practitioner as I have developed a broader, global understanding of the needs of the world on every continent.
In International Veterinary Health we truly believe in a One Health, One Welfare approach to what we do. We recognize that humans, animals, and the environment, are inextricably linked, and what happens in one area has both direct and indirect impacts on the other two. That is why it is important that we look at health and welfare as a whole.
We have focused a lot on rabies recently. But even then, One Health is not forgotten. If you listened to the podcast with Dr Monique Eloit and Dr Bernadette Abela-Ridder that we released for World Rabies Day you will know that we refer to One Health as we all talk together. Rabies is a simple example of one health, vaccinating dogs saves the lives of dogs, humans, and local wildlife.
But that is not all we do. For example, in South Africa, we support the anti-poaching teams in the National Parks. We provide anti-parasitic control and vaccines for the dogs who go out with the rangers. The dogs are essential for keeping the rangers safe, person and dog as a partnership, and together they keep the rhinos safe.
For me, One Health is also about how we approach disease control. In the past, we would focus on individual diseases. But the changes made through solving one disease are, while important, small compared to what we can really achieve. Looking at animal health as a whole, and also the entire infrastructure of access to medicines, is where we can make leaps forward rather than steps.
I hope that we will soon have someone on the podcast to talk more about looking at this overall disease burden.
One Health Day. Let’s celebrate it together, and make it a joint collaboration for a sustainable future.
PHOTO CREDITS: CARL SALTER