Kerala

One Health concept gains importance

The concept of ‘One Health’, which recognises that health of human beings is connected to health of animals and environment, is gaining importance as most of the contagious diseases affecting humans are zoonotic (animal to man origin) in nature.

“The concept of One Health can be effectively implemented for reducing incidence of emerging zoonotic threats like COVID-19. One Health is the collaborative efforts of multiple disciplines working locally, nationally, and globally, to attain optimal health for people, animals and our environment, as defined by the One Health Initiative Task Force,” says Dr. B. Sunil, Professor, Veterinary Public Health & Head, meat plant, Kerala veterinary and animal sciences university.

Of the contagious diseases affecting humans, more than 65% are of zoonotic or animal to man origin. While investigating the etiology of diseases strategic approach, incorporating scientists from multidisciplinary sources will yield confirmatory results, he noted.

Accepted model

One Health model is a globally accepted model for research on epidemiology, diagnosis and control of zoonotic diseases, says Dr. T.P. Sethumadhavan, former Director of entrepreneurship, Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (KVASU).

One Health model facilitates interdisciplinary approach in disease control so as to control emerging and existing zoonotic threats. Current outbreak of COVID-19 still could not find out the actual source of virus. Even though genomics of the virus has been published ambiguity still exists whether it was from bats, snakes, pangolin, etc.

“One Health model will strategically address all these issues and will facilitate to get detailed updates. The WHO is very effectively addressing emerging issues of antimicrobial resistance through One Health research. All the developing countries are in the process of promoting One Health research for developing a sustainable disease control system. They are using health analytics and data management tools for accurate results,” Dr. Sethumadhavan said. The KVASU has launched One Health centre to address the emerging zoonotic threats ike avian influenza, swine flu, monkey fever, coronavirus infection, etc.

“Need of the hour is to scale up such a model across the country and to establish meaningful research collaborations across the world. Asean and trans Pacific countries giving more thrust to this sector. BBSRC( Biotechnology and Biosciences Research Foundation), UK, Future farming based at Australia and Melinda and Gates Foundation are giving potential funding support to One Health model,” Dr. Sethumadhavan, who is also consultant to World Bank on Sustainable development, said.

Task force

Medical, veterinary, paramedical sectors and bioscience researchers need to form a task force to address the issues rather than blaming each other.

Health, veterinary, agriculture and life science research institutions and universities can play a lead role. Further delay may pave way for emergence of new communicable diseases, he pointed out.

“We should expect and be prepared to face more and more such infections in the coming days considering the climate change and environmental degradation,” said Member of Kerala State Planning Board and Public Health activist Dr. B. Ekbal.

Increasing stress on animals due to loss of their habitat would increase scope of zoonotic diseases, he noted.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2020 6:43:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/one-health-concept-gains-importance/article30832842.ece

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