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The Tripartite and UNEP supports the advance of One Health intelligence

09/02/2022

The newly launched One Health Intelligence Scoping Study (OHISS) project will allow to identify opportunities for greater technical harmonization of global health intelligence and data systems.

The COVID-19 pandemic has reiterated that previously unknown pathogens can emerge at any time, threatening the health, well-being, and economies of all societies. Interactions at the human-animal-environment interface are the foundation of the evolution and emergence of such pathogens. Hence, a One Health approach to prevent, detect and control emerging diseases is paramount. 

To have a more effective alert system to detect and quickly react to infectious disease outbreaks and share information rapidly and transparently to minimize health threats, the Tripartite, including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), and the World Health Organization (WHO), and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) are joining hands to conduct a comprehensive One Health Intelligence scoping study (OHISS). 

The Tripartite and UNEP launched this project in response to the G7 Cardis Bay Health Declaration that was made in June 2021 to establish an integrated and systems-based One Health approach across all aspects of pandemic prevention, preparedness, detection and response to foster a healthier planet. The project identifies potential opportunities for greater technical harmonization of different disease intelligence and data systems and ultimately reduce the health risks at the human-animal-ecosystem interface by strengthening Member States’ capacities to detect and react promptly to related events. 

The study aims to engage national and international experts, including those working on the Joint FAO-OIE-WHO Global Early Warning System (GLEWS+), as well as new initiatives such as the One Health Higher Level Expert Panel (OHHLEP) and the WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence, to identify best practices in how to effectively use and share data from and between the environment, agriculture, animal, and human health domains. Engagement with these stakeholders is crucial to integrate diverse knowledge and perspectives in managing data on health threats. 

“The key to a smarter and more efficient disease early warning, prevention and response is to increase the interoperability between networks and systems. By re-evaluating how the information is collated, assessed, used, and shared, the OHISS will explore ways to foster and harmonize existing networks and disease data to allow One Health early warning, real-time risk assessment and response systems across the animal, human and environment sectors,” said Keith Sumption, FAO Chief Veterinary Officer and Director of the Joint Centre for Zoonoses and AMR. 

Based on the findings from the OHHIS, it will further help develop a coordinated global One Health intelligence and early warning framework and system that will significantly enhance national and global detection, assessment, and response to health hazards.

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