One Health gains momentum in Africa but room exists for improvement

Objectives The degree of One-Healthiness of a system relates to the effectiveness of an institution to operate within the six main dimensions which identify to what extent it complies with One Health concept. This paper evaluates institutional compliance with One Health concept in 14 institutions from eight African countries. Methods We utilised the adapted Network for the Evaluation of One Health (NEOH) tool. The institutions included six national One Health platforms and eight other institutions utilizing One Health approaches. Semi-quantitative evaluation of One Health platforms' competencies in six aspects/dimensions concerning One Health operations and infrastructure: Systems Thinking, Planning, Transdisciplinary working, Sharing, Learning and Systemic Organization, was conducted. Results The evaluation revealed that although all aspects of One Health scored above average, systemic organization and working in One Health were the strongest areas where tremendous gains had been made across the evaluated countries. The aspects of planning, sharing, learning, and thinking should be optimized to achieve gains emanating from One Health approaches in Africa. Cultural and social balance, and integrated health approach were the strongest areas under working and thinking respectively. Thinking was particularly challenged in areas of dimensions coverage and balance, while planning was challenged in the areas of capacity for detection, identification, monitoring of infectious diseases; biosafety and quality management; skills through taught and distance-learning programmes; information and communication technologies to support learning and skills through research apprenticeships. Conclusion We conclude that although One Health has gained momentum in Africa, there still exists room for improvement. The revealed strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and gaps in One Health implementation provide an opportunity for prioritization and refocusing of efforts and resources to strengthen the identified weak areas.