Abstract More than 75% of emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic in origin and a transdisciplinary, multi-sectoral One Health approach is a key strategy for their effective prevention and control. In 2004, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention office in Kenya (CDC Kenya) established the Global Disease Detection Division of which one core component was to support, with other partners, the One Health approach to public health science. After catalytic events such as the global expansion of highly pathogenic H5N1 and the 2006 East African multi-country outbreaks of Rift Valley Fever, CDC Kenya supported key Kenya government institutions including the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries to establish a framework for multi-sectoral collaboration at national and county level and a coordination office referred to as the Zoonotic Disease Unit (ZDU). The ZDU has provided Kenya with an institutional framework to highlight the public health importance of endemic and epidemic zoonoses including RVF, rabies, brucellosis, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, anthrax and other emerging issues such as anti-microbial resistance through capacity building programs, surveillance, workforce development, research, coordinated investigation and outbreak response. This has led to improved outbreak response, and generated data (including discovery of new pathogens) that has informed disease control programs to reduce burden of and enhance preparedness for endemic and epidemic zoonotic diseases, thereby enhancing global health security. Since 2014, the Global Health Security Agenda implemented through CDC Kenya and other partners in the country has provided additional impetus to maintain this effort and Kenya’s achievement now serves as a model for other countries in the region. Significant gaps remain in implementation of the One Health approach at subnational administrative levels; there are sustainability concerns, competing priorities and funding deficiencies.
One Health has been promoted by international institutions as a framework to improve public health outcomes. Despite strong overall interest in One Health, country-, local- and project-level implementation remains limited, likely due to the lack of pragmatic and tested operational methods for implementation and metrics for evaluation. Here we use Rift Valley fever virus as an example to demonstrate the value of using a One Health approach for both scientific and resources advantages. We demonstrate that coordinated, a priori investigations between One Health sectors can yield higher statistical power to elucidate important public health relationships as compared to siloed investigations and post-hoc analyses. Likewise, we demonstrate that across a project or multi-ministry health study a One Health approach can result in improved resource efficiency, with resultant cost-savings (35% in the presented case). The results of these analyses demonstrate that One Health approaches can be directly and tangibly applied to health investigations.
The recent Zika outbreak in the Americas, Ebola epidemic in West Africa and the increased frequency and impact of emerging and re-emerging infections of animal origin have increased the calls for greater preparedness in early detection and responses to public health events. One-Health approaches that emphasize collaborations between human health, animal health and environmental health sectors for the prevention, early detection and response to disease outbreaks have been hailed as a key strategy. Here we highlight three main efforts that have progressed the implementation of One Health in Kenya.
The Ebola virus has spread across several Western Africa countries, adding a significant financial burden to their health systems and economies. In this article the experience with Ebola is reviewed, and economic challenges and policy recommendations are discussed to help curb the impact of other diseases in the future. The West African Ebola virus disease epidemic started in resource-constrained settings and caused thousands of fatalities during the last epidemic. Nevertheless, given population mobility, international travel, and an increasingly globalized economy, it has the potential to re-occur and evolve into a global pandemic. Struggling health systems in West African countries hinder the ability to reduce the causes and effects of the Ebola epidemic. The lessons learned include the need for strengthening health systems, mainly primary care systems, expedited access to treatments and vaccines to treat the Ebola virus disease, guidance on safety, efficacy, and regulatory standards for such treatments, and ensuring that research and development efforts are directed toward existing needs. Other lessons include adopting policies that allow for better flow of relief, averting the adverse impact of strong quarantine policy that includes exaggerating the aversion behavior by alarming trade and business partners providing financial support to strengthen growth in the affected fragile economies by the Ebola outbreak. Curbing the impact of future Ebola epidemics, or comparable diseases, requires increased long-term investments in health system strengthening, better collaboration between different international organizations, more funding for research and development efforts aimed at developing vaccines and treatments, and tools to detect, treat, and prevent future epidemics.
The recent emergence of zoonotic diseases such as Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) have contributed to dominant Global Health narratives around health securitisation and pandemic preparedness, calling for greater co-operation between the health, veterinary and environmental sectors in the ever-evolving One Health movement. A decade later, One Health advocates face increasing pressure to translate the approach from theory into action.
A qualitative case study methodology was used to examine the emerging relationships between international One Health dialogue and its practical implementation in the African health policy context. A series of Key Informant Interviews (n = 32) with policy makers, government officials and academics in Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda are presented as three separate case studies. Each case examines a significant aspect of One Health operationalisation, framed around the control of both emerging and Neglected Zoonotic Diseases including HPAI, Human African Trypanosomiasis and rabies. The research found that while there is general enthusiasm and a strong affirmative argument for adoption of One Health approaches in Africa, identifying alternative contexts away from a narrow focus on pandemics will help broaden its appeal, particularly for national or regionally significant endemic and neglected diseases not usually addressed under a “global” remit.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to achieving the intersectoral collaboration, significant resource mobilisation and political co-operation required to realise a One Health approach. Individual country requirements cannot be underestimated, dismissed or prescribed in a top down manner. This article contributes to the growing discussion regarding not whether One Health should be operationalised, but how this may be achieved.
Ministry of Health; MOHS: Ministry of Health and Sanitation
MoH: Ministry of Health; MOHS: Ministry of Health and Sanitation;
Memorandum of Understanding; NOHP: National One Health Platform
MoU: Memorandum of Understanding; NOHP: National One Health Platform;
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