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FAO and ECOWAS support One Health approach for health security in West Africa

FAO plays a key role to advance the One Health approach

Photo:© FAO/Senegal

11 November 2016, Dakar - Ministers of Health, Livestock, Environment and Agriculture of the ECOWAS countries have pledged to work towards the implementation of a regional One Health strategic framework to improve global health in the region.

The Ministers made the commitment in Dakar, in a communiqué adopted at the end of a One Health Technical and Ministerial meetings on zoonotic diseases and related public health threats (8-11 November 2016, Dakar).

The high-level ministerial session, convened by FAO, WHO, OIE, WAHO, RAHC, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Bank, aimed at fostering adoption and implementation of the ‘One Health’ approach in West Africa in order to further strengthen prevention, detection and response to emerging infectious disease threats, including zoonoses and Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).

The Senegalese Minister for livestock and animal productions, Aminata Mbengue Ndiaye, expressed the wish that countries urgently develop national action plans for the implementation of the One Health approach to manage better health threats to humans, animals and their environment.  

On her part, Beth Crawford, FAO Coordinator for Regional Initiatives and head of the FAO delegation, ensured continuous support to promote One Health objectives and principles, in collaboration with governments, regional and sub-regional institutions, international organizations and other developmental partners.

“Within the One Health approach, FAO has developed a strategic Action Plan aiming at tackling disease emergence at its source, particularly in animals to achieve food and health security and ensuring environmental health, too. By providing support for outbreaks prevention, detection of threats at early stages and responding rapidly and effectively when needed, FAO is contributing to decrease global health threats and promoting global health security as an international priority ”, she stated.  

“FAO has played key roles at global, regional and country levels to establish partnerships to advance global health and eliminate poverty through applying and promoting One Health approach across its various areas of expertise. The organization continuously contributes to decreasing global health threats and promoting global health security as an international priority and such commitment is echoed in the FAO’s Strategic Objectives”, she added.

Towards the implementation of a One Health regional framework

The Dakar final communiqué reaffirms the Ministers’ engagement to work with key partners including FAO, WHO, OIE, ECOWAS Commission, WAHO, World Bank, and USAID, among others, in order to jointly advocate and conduct resource mobilization for the implementation of the adopted One Health regional framework.

It also expresses their determination to build national mechanisms for inter sectoral coordination and partnership, which should facilitate the implementation of existing global and regional initiatives for information sharing between animal, human and environmental health sectors, in accordance with the principles of the One Health approach as stated in the FAO, OIE and WHO tripartite One Health document.

The communiqué further states the Ministers’ commitment to support the activities of the ECOWAS Regional Center for Disease Surveillance and Control (RCDSC), as well as the Regional Animal Health Center (RAHC), in building capacities in the sub-region for prevention, detection, and response to animal and public health events. Knowledge production should also be accelerated through operational research at the human-animal-environmental interface, to facilitate evidence-based decision.

 

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