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Advancing One Health in Africa

23 November 2012 - The One Health meeting in the African region was organized by the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa (WHO/AFRO), in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the One Health Central and Eastern Africa network (OHCEA) and the African Union Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) from 12 to 14 November 2012 in Libreville, Gabon

Hundred twenty five (125) participants actively took part in this meeting, with high level participation (permanent secretaries or their representatives) from ministries dealing with human, animal and ecosystems health sectors from 11 African countries (Angola, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Kenya, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda).

The concept of "One Health" is an integrated approach to health which focuses on the interactions between animals, humans and their various environments. While initially the focus of One Health was related to emerging pandemic threats gradually there is a recognition of its importance also tin addressing endemic zoonotic and food borne diseases.

The main objective of the meeting was to enhance awareness about One Health .and for countries to share experiences and reinforce political initiatives for the implementation of the “One Health” approach. Countries were further able to share the challenges and barriers to implementation of the One Health approach at country level. One of the outcomes was the development of an One Health action plan developed by each country. In addition the countries reviewed the draft regional zoonotic strategic plan developed by WHO/AFRO.

The main recommendations from the meeting related to the need to further advance the One Health approach in the African region by further engaging the stakeholders at country level and implementing the elaborated action plans. The country representatives called upon WHO/AFRO to finalize the regional strategy for zoonotic diseases together with FAO and OIE as serve as a guide for countries to develop their respective national strategies. Furthermore in close cooperation with the Africa Union and regional Economic communities there should be an increased support and funding towards the operationalisation of the One Health approach. Universities and institution of higher learning in the represented countries were called upon to build human capacity for engaging in One Health.


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