04 October 2013 - Continuing its support to animal and human health collaboration, FAO brought academic and international participants together on 26 September 2013 to boost knowledge on One Health in Central and East Africa.
The FAO Subregional Office for East Africa held the workshop, entitled “One Health Country Case Studies: Identifying Opportunities for Advancing One Health in Central and Eastern Africa”. Funded jointly by FAO and Irish Aid, the workshop was held in conjunction with the One Health Central and East Africa’s (OHCEA) 1st International One Health Conference (23–26 September) in Addis Ababa. FAO partnered with OHCEA, a network of fourteen public health and veterinary institutions in Central and East Africa, to focus on educating students in One Health.
This workshop brought together more than 50 participants from 10 countries in East and Central Africa representing Ministries of Health, Agriculture and Environment as well as representatives from the United States Agency for International Development, RESPOND, academic institutions and international organizations.
Building on previous One Health workshops, specifically the regional meeting of Chief Veterinary Officers and partners (Ethiopia, June 2013) and “Towards and Integrated and Effective Animal Health – Food Safety Surveillance Capacity Development in Eastern Africa” (Uganda, January 2013), participants were asked to explore challenges and opportunities to operationalizing One Health based on their experiences.
Countries were given the opportunity to give a joint (cross-ministerial) presentation on national developments in One Health, and the majority of the day was spent in focus group discussion. Participants were challenged to identify key next steps for further operationalizing One Health in a sustainable manner both at national and regional levels.
Key challenges identified through focus group and plenary discussion included challenges of translating science to policy, lack of structured or sustained collaboration across disciplines in non-emergency settings, lack of sustainable funding and low levels of political will. Key opportunities for advancement included: i) identifying joint funding opportunities and methods across disciplines; ii) encouraging academic institutions to explore specific benefits associated with One Health implementation (especially related to economic efficiency); iii) creation of a mechanism or method to share process and progress related to operationalizing One Health across countries at a subregional level; and iv) capitalizing on both top-down and bottom-up operationalization at national levels.
Workshop discussion highlighted that, while countries found themselves at various stages of developing national One Health frameworks, many saw encouraging progress toward improved governance. Countries will be further developing these steps in the coming weeks, with the aim for many to develop draft, national one health action plans.