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Pakistan Establishing a One Health Club and Celebrating One Health Day

November 30, 2019

By Muhammad Junaid Nawaz, DVM, M.Phil. (UVAS)

We are living in an era where new disease outbreaks in humans and animals are due to devastating changes equally in environment, animal care, and human activities. Every 6 out of 10 infectious human diseases spread from animals. Hence, human health is directly connected to the health of animals and the environment. In developing countries, the condition gets severe due to lack of awareness and insufficient policies. Diseases which have been minimized or eradicated from the developed countries still prevail here. We often observe re-occurrence of diseases due to lack of harmony and collaboration among animal, human, and environmental scientists. Moreover, research collaborations remain confined to the respective departments which results in poor representation of the issues to policy makers and the authorities.

All of the above narrated concerns made me think of playing my role towards improving the community health situation. Since I have attended an extensive training of One Health at Duke University in 2018, I had a clear concept of One Health approach. Thus, I felt increasing interdisciplinary collaboration through the One Health approach is the next step towards establishing a healthier community by preventing and controlling diseases. This need brought forth the idea of establishing a platform that initiates collaboration among veterinary and human public health professionals and students initially at local level and later at national level.

 

I started discussing the idea with the faculty members of the Cholistan University of Veterinary & Animal Sciences, who have background knowledge of One Health approach. Here, I found professionals who appreciated the idea and wanted to be a part of it. We established a One Health Club platform and got it approved by the Vice-Chancellor of the University.

MISSION:

To develop programs for controlling and eradicating zoonotic, emerging, re-emerging and vector borne diseases of public health concern by collaborative efforts of Veterinary Medicine, Human Medicine & Public Health officials and Environment specialists.

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES:

  1. Create and spread awareness regarding One Health Concept and its importance among Veterinary and Human medicine professionals.
  2. Identify and prioritize research gaps in the field of Zoonoses, Emerging & Re-emerging infectious diseases, Antimicrobial resistance and Vector Borne Diseases of Public Health concern.
  3. Exchange the latest high-level scientific research among Veterinary, Human medicine and Public Health departments.
  4. Provide a strategic planning forum for researchers and early career investigators from governmental and non-governmental institutions to establish disease prevention, control and eradication strategies.
  5. Establish a bio-threats Scanning Group of experts.
  6. Engage the broader scientific community and global health officials.
  7. Translate the relevant information and knowledge for general public understanding in order to engage them in building a healthier community.

RECENT ACTIVITIES:

We started our activities by celebrating One Health Day, engaging students and professionals from veterinary and human medicine fields to educate them about the concept of One Health. We arranged a One Health seminar for faculty, with a speaker each from the veterinary and human public health institutes.

We arranged a series of lectures on One Health in the Veterinary and Animal Science classes. The idea of interdisciplinary collaboration in research somehow fascinated the students and we felt their enthusiasm and interest for participating in the activities of One Health Club. The students were invited to participate in a chart-making competition, with the theme “Illustrate any one of the following Issues (Rabies, Anti-Microbial Resistance, Tuberculosis, Dengue, Avian Influenza) by showing their Interaction at human animal interface under the One Health Concept”. A total of 196 students comprising 35 groups from 9 different degree programs participated in the competition. Charts were judged by two deans from our veterinary university and a professor from a medical college. Below are some photos from the event:

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