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29th Conference of the OIE Regional Commission for Asia, the Far East and Oceania

Lack of coordination between the animal health and the public health sectors can negate all other efforts to preserve ‘One Health’

The emergence of new diseases of animal origin poses a substantial and continued threat to public health, animal health, environment and food security. These risks exist within a global context in which human populations, agricultural and animal production, globalisation, international trade and travel are significantly increasing and the demand for livestock products is growing dramatically.

Preserving global public health is a shared responsibility of both animal and human health authorities, which should ensure the presence of well-trained and functioning rapid response teams at local and national levels in a country to enable a rapid, well-coordinated, and organised public health response.

In this context, the concept of multi-sectoral approaches and collaboration for public sector governance represents a key success factor to effective and well organised national health systems.

As the reference intergovernmental organisations for public and animal health, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have been active promoters and implementers of an intersectoral collaborative approach among institutions and systems to preventing, detecting, and controlling diseases among animals and humans.

OIE and WHO develop, publish and constantly review intergovernmental regulations and standards, not only for disease prevention and control methods but also for the quality of national animal and public health systems. Coordinating the effective implementation of these standards at the national, regional and global levels with an efficient cooperation between Veterinary Services and Public Health Services is one of the most critical factor for controlling health hazards nationwide and worldwide.

Therefore, WHO and OIE have developed an operational approach, which aims at promoting the concomitant and facilitated use of:

  • the OIE’s the Performance of Veterinary Services (PVS) Pathway, which is a global programme for the sustainable improvement of the quality of Veterinary Services compliance with the OIE international standards;
  • and the WHO’s International Health Regulations (IHR), which aim to prevent, protect, control, and respond to the international spread of disease as well as to avoid unnecessary interruptions to traffic and trade.

Both programmes provide the ability for countries to determine strengths and weaknesses in their respective functions and activities, and promote prioritisation and pathways for further improvement. A Guide has been developed to help Member Countries better understand the importance of good governance at the human-animal interface. The tools also help them examine their capacities, including those related to cross-sectoral collaborations, and will be the basis for the expansion of IHR/PVS national workshops.

This Guide is the basic document to be used by Member Countries for organising national meetings between Public Health and Veterinary Services and developing the One Health concept at national level.

Coordination and collaboration between Veterinary Services and Public Health Services, and other relevant authorities is critical to effective action, and to optimal management of available human and financial resources. Lack of coordination can negate all other efforts”, underlined Dr Vallat, OIE Director General during the 29th Conference of the OIE’s Regional Commission for Asia, the Far East and Oceania.

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