Scientist highlights the role of One Health approach in addressing critical health issues in Africa
Addis Ababa, March 17, 2023 (FBC) – Dr. Theo Knight-Jones, a partner of International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and principal scientist, and the Head of Capacitating One Health in Eastern and Southern Africa (COHESA) project, a 4-year EU funded initiative operating in 11 countries in Africa.
In an exclusive interview with Fana Broadcasting Corporation, Dr. Theo Knight-Jones said COHESA is a cross-cutting approach dealing with eminent human, animal, plant and environmental health challenges in a bid to help ensure a safe living condition for Africans.
He appreciated the commitment Ethiopia has shown in establishing the One Health National Steering Committee in 2017, calling for continued collaboration among all stakeholders to prevent health problems shared between humans and animals and achieve better public health outcomes.
“We are currently working with Addis Ababa University, implementer of the COHESA project in Ethiopia to support the One Health approach already initiated by the government,” he indicated.
Most of known human infectious diseases are shared with animals, and most emerging diseases are associated with wildlife, One Health has focused on the human-animal health nexus – including zoonosis and anti-microbial resistance.
The increased use of chemicals to increase agricultural productivity has posed a threat to the ecological health in Africa and the global world at large, the scientist said. The common pandemics such as the coronavirus and monkey pox are shared between humans and animals; therefore, it needs a great deal of collaboration between governments and partners to tackle such health matters in a coordinated manner.
COHESA looks forward to give capacity building training to health professionals, teachers, students and various segments of the community and contribute to the public private collaboration so as to realize effective One Health governance which is a key for realizing healthier community.
Ethiopia has already established the One Health National Committee. Therefore, we are not working to duplicate the efforts but to enhance collaboration for better results in the health sector, he added.
By: Wondesen Aregahegn