World Organisation for Animal Health

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Controlling global health risks more effectively

Against the background of increasing trade globalisation, controlling and managing health risks can only occur through multi-sectoral collaboration; with well-structured and resilient health systems that prioritise prevention.

Global health risks and tomorrow’s challenges

Diseases of animal origin that are transmissible to humans, such as avian influenza, rabies, Rift Valley fever and brucellosis, pose worldwide risks to public health that must be prevented and controlled. 

Pathogens of animal origin that are not transmissible to humans, but which have a severe impact on the production of animal protein, should not be neglected either, particularly in developing countries. In fact, they can lead to production losses and a reduction in the available food supply, leading to serious public health problems caused by food shortages and protein deficiencies.

These risks are increasing with trade globalisation, global warming and changes in human behaviour, all of which provide multiple opportunities for pathogens to colonise new territories and evolve into new forms.

Preventing and controlling animal pathogens at their source

Past decades have shown us that preventing diseases at their animal source is still the most effective and economic way of protecting people. New models are needed to ensure early detection, prevention and control at the human–animal interface to reduce the persistent global threat of emerging animal diseases. Given the complexity of these diseases and their emergence and spread in a world that is becoming increasingly globalised, it is essential to find effective strategies to control them at their source to reduce their potentially devastating impact on health. This can be done by building upon the successes of the past, integrating new control methods and by entering into new partnerships to reduce future threats.

As a result of its standard-setting activities for animal health and welfare and because its mandate focuses on transparency in animal health in the world, the OIE plays a crucial role in preventing and controlling global animal health risks.

Within this framework, cross-sectoral cooperation at the national, regional and global level is a fundamental part of ensuring that our efforts are successful.

Through its actions, the OIE strongly supports initiatives to broaden the scientific basis of positive multi-sectoral collaboration, and to find ways to put the “One Health” concept into practice at the political and practical level.

Networking international scientific expertise

Swift and accurate identification of the pathogens responsible for animal diseases is an essential component in the early detection of disease. That is why the capabilities and reliability of national veterinary laboratories play a key role in controlling such diseases.

For many years, the OIE has been committed to capacity building and global networking among veterinary laboratories. In addition, it provides Member Countries with the skills and knowledge of more than 320 international centres of expertise, as well as programmes to build the capacity of their own national laboratories, particularly through its twinning programme between laboratories, and through training workshops.