In War with Zoonosis? Let it Affect No One!

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This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Laveeza Fatima, a 19 years old medical student at Allama Iqbal Medical College, Pakistan. She is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


 Have you ever heard of integration? I’m sure you would have! It refers to the practice of bringing different entities into an integral whole. Integration in society has enabled citizens to respect other’s cultures and unite with each other to expand their horizons and so is integration important in healthcare fields. One health aims to collaborate with entities working at local, national, and international levels to achieve optimal health levels around the globe. It urges to break down barriers between animal health, environmental health, and human health to prevent outbreaks and contagious diseases.

 Did you know that two-thirds of known human infectious diseases are shared with animals? As globalization has increased in recent years, outbreaks of emerging and re-emerging diseases have posed a great threat to us. Tackling such diseases is important to maintain the economy and livestock production. Zoonotic pathogens kill millions of people annually, coronavirus is one of them which has led to the death of 4.45 M people worldwide since 2019. This is why One health has directed on treating animal-human health as a single entity. A cross-sectional approach can be a solution to eradicating emerging infectious diseases and devising more appropriate preventions for future outbreaks.

 The global health agenda to prevent, detect and respond to infectious diseases has become more significant in recent times, as we are witnessing unpredictable demographic changes in the population. The increasing population demands increased acknowledgment to control communicable diseases and epidemics. One health approach can significantly contribute to this cause. By focusing on one health agenda, animal to human transmission of zoonoses can be prevented. It can also be considered valuable for developing countries as it lowers the budget load. Livestock vaccination, prohibition of inhumane animal killing, and making pet ownership registration mandatory are the key.

 Good health of the population leads to an increased happiness index which can, in return, promise economic growth. But unfortunately, many awareness campaigns and health agendas have been failing in the struggle of improving the health sector. The approach can be successful depending on the willingness of the decision-makers to implement the necessary policies. Health and welfare policies are the ultimate decision-makers of the health of the population. The organizations involved in One Health approach-based programs should take note of livestock vaccination against zoonoses and it will be incomplete without proper planning. For the better implementation of the One Health approach, strategies should be assessed and circulated by authorities. The public can also play an important role by participating and joining hands with OIE (World Organization for Animal Health) in implementing these programs.

References:

1. https://www.unep.org/news-and-stories/story/one-health-approach-critical-tackle-health-inequality-and-emerging-diseases

2. http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/faculty/detels/ph150/chap12-14_otph5.pdf

3. https://tropmedhealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s41182-020-00272-1

About the author

Laveeza Fatima is a 19 years old medical student at Allama Iqbal Medical College, Pakistan. She strongly believes in a world with medical students having the power to change the face of public health.

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