28 Jun One Health: Exploring the human-animal-environment interface, symbiosis and its implications on the biopsychosocial domains of health
Author: Georgia Krause (MBBS)
The synergism at the human-animal-environment interface is distinct. One Health is an inclusive approach targeted at the attainment of global health security and optimal health outcomes for people, animals, plants, and their shared environment. The concept aims to achieve this through addressing mutual threats such as zoonotic diseases, antimicrobial resistance, food security and safety, among others. The methodology is collaborative, multisectoral and transdisciplinary. The model encourages collaboration and cooperation through recognition that no single person or professional sector can address these issues alone.
Human, animal, and environmental health partners are required to work in unison to develop optimal public health interventions as their needs arise. Integral professionals include those working in human health (doctors, nurses, epidemiologists), animal health (veterinarians, paraprofessionals, agricultural workers) and the environment (ecologists, wildlife experts). Increasing efforts are being made to shift from traditionally reactive to preventative models of care. One of the primary aims of One Health is to accelerate the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which provide a blueprint to the acquisition of our (the planet and its inhabitants) mutual peace and prosperity.
Whilst the One Health model has been accepted for several decades its pertinence has only more recently been widely recognised in public health sectors. This is a direct response to the dramatic and arguably dynamic shifts at the human-animal-environment interface that have resulted secondary to climate change. As such we are hearing more and more about One Health and its implementation is gaining momentum.
A journal article published in the Federation of European Microbiological Societies Microbiology Letters (FEMS Microbiology Letters) authored by Zinsstag J, Crump L, Schelling E, et al. postulates that integrated approaches produce better health outcomes for humans and animals alike at a reduced cost when compared to work completed separately. The paper also suggests that a One Health approach to climate change may significantly improve food security.¹
One Health is everyone’s business and with further research its implementation will yield positive and more sustainable solutions across sectors.
- Zinsstag J, Crump L, Schelling E, et al. Climate change and One Health. FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2018;365(11):fny085. doi:10.1093/femsle/fny085
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