Farming in the highlands of Ethiopia

Livestock farming in the highlands of Ethiopia (photo credit: ILRI/Apollo Habtamu).

One Health refers to the collaborative effort of multiple disciplines to attain optimal health for people, animals and the environment. Although the usefulness of the One Health approach is widely appreciated, thanks to a growing body of evidence, its uptake remains limited and health management is still largely organized by sector.

How, then, can One Health proponents build a compelling business case for it? A new article published in the Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research (23 April 2014) may be of help; it outlines a pathway to develop the business case for One Health.

It also identifies five key areas where One Health is likely to make a difference. These are:

  1. sharing health resources between the medical and veterinary sectors;
  2. controlling zoonotic diseases in animal reservoirs;
  3. early detection of and response to emerging diseases;
  4. prevention of pandemics; and
  5. generating insights and adding value to health research and development.

The literature reviewed suggests that every dollar invested in One Health would yield five dollars worth of benefits. Therefore, increased investment in One Health on a large scale has the potential to transform the management of emerging and neglected zoonotic diseases and save the lives of millions of people and animals.

The article is authored by Delia Grace, veterinary epidemiologist and food safety specialist at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). She heads ILRI’s research program on food safety and zoonoses as well as the agriculture-associated diseases theme of the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH).

Access the article here

Grace D. 2014. The business case for One Health. Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research 81(2), 6 pages.