One Health is a collaborative, multisectoral and transdisciplinary approach for achieving optimal health outcomes by recognizing the interconnection between people, animals, plants and their shared environment. Building on 45 years of experience in animal health research in Africa and Asia, ILRI carries out One Health projects with national and international partners to prevent and control foodborne diseases, zoonoses, emerging endemic infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance (AMR). In the last year, ILRI scientists have carried out a variety of One Health activities to promote and scale up the approach across the developing world.
In the last year, ILRI has produced 14 blog posts about One Health spanning a wide range of topics, from boosting investment in One Health projects to preventing future pandemics. A central theme in many of the blogs was how to scale up the One Health approach moving forward. Blogs focused on the need for capacity building and enhanced research capacity through the creation of field-based labs that bring experts from a variety of fields together to address common problems. Through these blog posts, ILRI has made information about One Health research, programs and benefits accessible to a wider audience.
One of ILRI’s key One Health projects during the last year was the One Health Investment Brief. The brief outlines seven key areas and 18 practical actions—from maintaining livestock health and welfare to improving collaboration between sectors—that governments, investors, policymakers and One Health experts can focus on for improved health outcomes. It also highlights core One Health investments, such as human and animal disease surveillance systems and improved food safety practices, along with the public health benefits they will generate. The last portion of the brief provides examples of livestock-based interventions, such as integrating crop and livestock production in ‘mixed farming systems’ and improving access to human and animal health services in pastoral areas, that can support the One Health agenda in developing countries.
ILRI scientists have also produced two peer-reviewed journal articles about One Health in the last year which highlights ILRI’s role in generating new research and data supporting the One Health approach. The first paper is an opinion piece titled ‘A One Health approach to plant health’, co-authored by ILRI scientists Arshnee Moodley, Nicoline de Haan and Peter Ballantyne. In it, they argue that a One Health perspective can optimize net benefits from plant protection, realizing food security and nutrition gains while minimizing unintentional negative impacts of plant health practices on people, animals and ecosystems. ILRI scientist Hung Nguyen co-authored the third paper titled ‘Decades of emerging infectious disease, food safety, and antimicrobial resistance response in Vietnam: The role of One Health’, which reflects on the challenges and opportunities of One Health in the context of zoonoses, food safety and antimicrobial resistance.
Finally, ILRI scientists presented at a variety of international symposiums, conferences and workshops to help build capacity and operationalize the One Health approach across the developing world. This included a presentation from ILRI scientists Hung Nguyen and Dieter Schillinger at the 1st Infectious Diseases and One Health Day and another from Delia Grace, Eric Fevre and Theodore Knight-Jones at the inaugural Africa One Health Network workshop. Other presentations from ILRI scientists touched on the roles of livestock and farmed wildlife in preventing the next pandemic as well as an analysis of ILRI’s One Health research over the last 45 years.
The wide range of One Health activities ILRI has engaged in during the past year will go a long way towards strengthening research collaborations, building new One Health networks at the national, regional and international level, and further developing global research expertise surrounding One Health. In the long run, these efforts will help reduce the burden of zoonoses, foodborne diseases, emerging infectious diseases and AMR, leading to a healthier, more prosperous world.
For more on ILRI’s work on One Health:
visit our One Health landing page
ILRI’s One Health strategy document, visit here
One Health Center in Africa, visit our OHRECA landing page
Capacitating One Health in Eastern and Southern Africa, visit our COHESA landing page
One Health for Humans, Environment, Animals and Livelihoods, visit our HEAL landing page
Boosting Uganda’s Investment in Livestock Development, visit our BUILD landing page
Photo: ILRI animal health laboratory in Nairobi, Kenya (photo credit: ILRI/David White).