Bridging the gap between scientists and the media when communicating about One Health

Nairobi, Kenya – 28 October 2021, the One Health Centre in Africa (OHRECA), which is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), hosted a virtual media café ahead of World One Health Day. 

World One Health Day, which is celebrated annually on 3 November, brings attention to the need to recognize and implement One Health approaches to tackle health threats at the animal, human and environmental interfaces. 

More than 40 journalists from across the world participated in the virtual event at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), which hosts OHRECA. They discussed One Health with scientists from ILRI and Kenya’s Zoonotic Disease Unit

Through an engaging discussion moderated by Aghan Daniel, CEO of the Media Environment, Science, Health and Agriculture Association (MESHA), journalists and scientists unpacked One Health approaches by broadly exploring the subject and specifically talking about public health threats such as Rift Valley fever, rabies and Ebola. While some of these threats were continent specific, COVID-19 has demonstrated the ability of a regional-specific pathogen to move across the world, and hence the need to better communicate and use the One Health approach to tackle global threats. 

Speaking at the event, Delia Grace Randolph, professor of food safety systems at the Natural Resources Institute (NRI), University of Greenwich, and jointly appointed scientist at ILRI, shared a broad overview on One Health, Eco Health and Planetary Health. 


Athman Mwatondo, co-head at the Zoonotic Disease Unit in the Kenyan Ministry of Health, noted that ‘the mission of the ZDU is to establish and maintain active collaboration at the animal, human and ecosystem interfaces towards better prevention and control of zoonotic disease.’ He said the media café was an excellent way to showcase how both science and policy work in One Health. 

Samuel Doe Ouma, editorial coordinator for Health Business Magazine, said, ‘the interactive meeting between scientists and journalists enhanced my knowledge and capacity in reporting the One Health concept.’ Ouma added that the event improved his understanding of One Health and that he looked forward to impactful health and science reporting to enhance community knowledge, preparedness and capacity in managing emerging infectious disease. 

Bernard Bett, senior scientist and team leader of OHRECA, highlighted the important need for the scientific communities to bridge the gaps with journalists who report and advocate for the One Health work. ‘This media café was engaging and helped journalists better understand One Health approaches. We were able to dive deep to share disease specifics and address zoonotic disease in communities.’ 

Learn more about ILRI's One Health activities

Learn more about OHRECA

Photo credit: Media interview with Jimmy Smith, ILRI, director general, 2014 (ILRI/Paul Karaimu)