One Health approach – UPSC GS2

  • Covid-19 has emphasised need for adopting One Health Approach for Zoonotic diseases.
What is the One Health Approach?
  • It is a collaborative, multisectoral, coordinated, and transdisciplinary approach. It recognizes the interconnection between people, animals, and the environment.
  • It calls for working at the local, regional, national, and global levels with the goal of achieving optimal health outcomes.
Need for focusing on ‘One Health’:
  • High Prevalence of Zoonotic Diseases: More than two-thirds of existing and emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic. Experts believe that there are more than 1.7 million viruses circulating in wildlife, and many of them are likely to be zoonotic.
  • Transboundary impact: The transboundary impact of viral outbreaks such as the Nipah virus, Ebola, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), etc. were alarming for the world. It has made it imperative for the world to focus on one health.
  • Huge Economic Cost: Zoonotic diseases place a heavy burden on the economy of countries.
For instance, the WHO estimates that rabies (also a zoonotic disease) costs the global economy approximately $6 billion annually.
India and One Health approach:
  • India’s ‘One Health’ vision derives its blueprint from tripartite-plus alliance towards ‘One World, One Health’.
  • The alliance includes:
    • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO),
    • World Organization for Animal Health (OIE),
    • World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).
Steps taken by India towards ‘One Health’:
  • The country established a National Standing Committee on Zoonoses in the 1980s.
  • The Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying (DAHD) has launched several schemes to mitigate the prevalence of animal diseases since 2015.
  • For instance, under the National Animal Disease Control Program, 13,343 crore rupees have been sanctioned for Foot and Mouth disease and Brucellosis control.
  • DAHD has partnered with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in the National Action Plan for Eliminating Dog-Mediated Rabies.
  • Further DAHD will soon establish a ‘One Health’ unit within the Ministry.
  • Center for One Health will soon be established at Nagpur.
  • Efforts are being made to revamp programs that focus on capacity building for veterinarians.
  • The government is also upgrading the animal health diagnostic system such as Assistance to States for Control of Animal Diseases (ASCAD).
Challenges hindering the success of one health approach:
  • Veterinary manpower shortages make the early detection of zoonotic diseases difficult.
  • Lack of information sharing between human and animal health institutions
  • Inadequate coordination on food safety at slaughter, distribution, and retail facilities
Way Forward:
  • The focus should be on increasing investments and augmenting awareness generation towards ’One Health’ approach.
  • There must be the integration of existing animal health and disease surveillance systems.

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