A One Health approach to achieving the Global Health agenda

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This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Sadia Khalid, Junior researcher, and a PhD candidate at Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech), Estonia. 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.


One of the main aspects of the global health agenda is to unify two challenging domains of our times; interdependence and globalization and to develop strategies that address the growing inequalities within and between nations.

One health is a multidisciplinary and multisectoral approach for achieving optimal health. this approach offers opportunities to utilize the collaborative competencies to address complex health threats by recognizing the interconnection between humans, animals, plants, and their shared environment.

 Contemporary to One health emphasis on the need for strategic planning at the national and international level for zoonotic diseases, food safety, antimicrobial resistance, and climate change, we observe in clinical practice and in medical school curricula its application is largely missing which would be a hindrance to achieving Global health agenda.

One Health involvement and benefits for medical schools and global health centers can be achieved by: 1) Dissemination of and increasing access to already existing information, tools, guidance, literature studies, protocols, and resources available through practicing One health communities.
 2) a small team in an institute dedicated to direct faculty and students to useful One health resources. 3)Using entry points such as syllabi or special workshop/courses or institute website/social media page posts to enable One health resource.
 4) Utilizing available platforms (e.g., MOOCs) for equitable information access globally.
5)Incorporating innovative pedagogical methods and advanced assessment methods and tools for better support of students working on interdisciplinary teams.
6)Encouraging students to take part in public and global health conferences, free CDC monthly webinars on One health topic, and to enable incorporation of relevant information of this topic on ecological and epidemiological factors relevant to disease risk into medical community commonly used tools( e.g., Medscape).
7)Paving a path for the effective flow of information not only in the medical and healthcare community but for dissemination of information outside of ones’ immediate domain for equitable penetration of knowledge for global health agenda.
8) Ensure appropriate information chain management to harness front-line reporting of data and responses from all disciplines to be in place. Special attention should be given to chain design, operation, and workflow needs, and potential users’ utility.
9) Developing innovative partnerships such as connecting students and faculty from different departments via collaborative research exchange programs, multi-disciplinary training, integrated degree program, interdisciplinary events. It will serve needs for improved health status, including at the community level. It’s pivotal to identify entry points and key competencies for applied training and health practitioners for problem-solving skills in One health strategies implication. Finally, a clear action plan and rationale for One Health promotion and policymaking across the sector is of utmost importance as the One Health approach to inform solutions for the Global health agenda can only be achieved by empowering and training health professionals to better identify and communicate urgent threats to public health.

 These objectives would be a valuable input to already existing settings, resources, and stakeholders through more holistic and effective service delivery and will allow us to better manage determinants of poor health status. Therefore, we believe that the global health agenda can be achieved by important actors such as medical and global health educators, practitioners, and students exploring and incorporating the One Health approach locally and globally into their work.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST:

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

References:

Machalaba CC, Salerno RH, Barton Behravesh C, et al. Institutionalizing One Health: From Assessment to Action. Health Secur. 2018; 16(S1): S37–S43. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1089/hs.2018.0064 

Machalaba, C. et al, 2021. Applying a One Health Approach in Global Health and Medicine: Enhancing Involvement of Medical Schools and Global Health Centers. Annals of Global Health, 87(1), p.30. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/aogh.2647

About the author

Sadia Khalid, Junior researcher, and a PhD candidate at Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech), Estonia. She has been working on her research project  “The role of Helicobacter pylori intestinal microbiota in the development of liver diseases. under supervision of Dr. Pirjo Spuul at Faculty of Science, Institute of Chemistry and Biotechnology.TalTech. previously she has worked as specialist in Transgeno project under supervision of Prof. Ali reza at University of Tartu, Estonia. She has obtained her MD in emergency medicine in 2017 from the Dalian Medical university, China and MBChB in 2013 from the Weifang Medical university, China. Her current research interests include infectious diseases, bacteriology, hepatology, and gastroenterology.

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