One Health Forum Urges Africa to Strength Public Health System

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Addis Ababa November 14/2019 With recurring zoonotic diseases for global health threats, Africa needs to strengthen public health system for surveillance and control specific diseases, One Health Forum said. 
The 1st International One Health Forum aims at finding solutions for most pressing issues of zoonotic disease kicked off today in Addis Ababa.

Participants from around the globe including researchers, policy makers and practitioners working on issues broadly in the area of public health, veterinary medicine, agriculture, biodiversity, ecosystem services, and sustainable development have attended the two day forum.

Zoonotic diseases are diseases that can be transmitted from animals to people or more specifically, diseases that normally exits in animals but that can infect humans.

Program Officer at World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) for Eastern Africa, Dr. Jane Lwoyero told journalist that to be able achieve the objective of controlling zoonotic disease, it requires more strategic approach and involvement of various sectors.

Many African countries have set up effective initiatives engaging on public health practitioners, scientists, policy makers and workforce but these initiatives are often are not well connected and integrated.

So, she said, African countries need to ensure sufficient representation from animal and environmental sectors to reach balanced approval for risk assessment with inputs from all relevant sectors.

“During this event, different people from different countries have an opportunity to learn from each other on how to forge alliance forward, best interact and coordinate at the country levels in mitigating zoonotic disease,” she said.

Internal Health Regulation Country Focal at Ethiopian Public Health Institute, Dr. Feyesa Regassa, on his part said One health approach is a strategic partnership for ensuring global and national health security as emerging infectious disease increasing from time to time.

He noted that most of the public health and the emerging pathogens about 75 percent are zoonotic disease that transmitted from animal to humans due to urbanization and globalization.

As a result, no single sector can address these problems and coming together as multi-disciplinary approaches is important to ensure global health security, he added.

Ethiopia has already established the national One Health coordination mechanism in 2016, which is part of ensuring global and national health security, Feyesa noted.

The first international One Health Forum is organized by One health platform, hosted by African CDC.

According to the World Bank, Zoonotic diseases account for more than one billion cases and a million deaths per year.