New study of global One Health Networks highlights inequity in resource allocation
A new research paper published in The Lancet (Feb 2023) has examined the global distribution of existing One Health Networks and found that investment in these networks has not been equitably distributed.
A One Health approach to disease prevention and control recognizes the close interaction between people, animals and their shared environment.
The COVID-19 pandemic has seen increased focus on the threat of emerging diseases at the human–animal–environment interface.
As such, investments in One Health collaborations are expected to increase at local, national and international levels in order to effectively tackle emerging, re-emerging and endemic diseases.
Analysis of the operations of global One Health Networks is useful to assess their efficiency, avoid duplication of effort, and ensure appropriate and timely allocation of resources.
The research study by Athman Mwatondo and colleagues found that more One Health networks are formed and headquartered in Europe than in any other region.
Emerging infections and novel pathogens were the priority focus area for most One Health Networks, with fewer networks focusing on other important hazards and pressing threats to health security.
With regard to One Health collaborations, the study found low diversity in stakeholder and sector representation.
This, the study authors argue, is an impediment to effective and equitable One Health network formation and contributes to other imbalances in network priorities and investments.
The study therefore calls for the development of a database or repository of One Health networks worldwide.
This will facilitate greater understanding of the existing resource allocation and distribution patterns among global One Health networks and thus ensure more focused efforts and equitable resource allocation to the networks and communities that need them most.
Mwatondo, A., Rahman-Shepherd, A., Hollmann, L., Chiossi, S., Maina, J., Kurup, K.K., Hassan, O.A., Coates, B., Khan, M., Spencer, J., Mutono, N., Thumbi, S.M., Muturi, M., Mutunga, M., Arruda, L.B., Akhbari, M., Ettehad, D., Ntoumi, F., Scott, T.P., Nel, L.H., Ellis-Iversen, J., Sönksen, U.W., Onyango, D., Ismail, Z., Simachew, K., Wolking, D., Kazwala, R., Sijali, Z., Bett, B., Heymann, D., Kock, R., Zumla, A. and Dar, O. 2023. A global analysis of One Health Networks and the proliferation of One Health collaborations. Lancet 401(10376): 605–616.
Photo credit: Aflatoxin research at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI/Paul Karaimu)