One Health is the collaborative effort of multiple disciplines working locally, nationally, and globally to attain sustainable optimal health for the ecosystem*. It is a cultural and behavioral concept with socioeconomic elements and impact.
*a biological community of living organisms (humans, animals, plants, and microbes) and their physical environment interacting as a system
Originally posted in the December 2015 Dean's Corner Newsletter. Visit the original article at /news/for-deans-corner/december-2015/advancing-one-health-in-south-africa.
South Africa abounds in wildlife and livestock, providing an ideal One Health platform for collaborations in transboundary infectious and parasitic diseases. To explore research and educational opportunities for Texas A&M University, Dr. Rosina "Tammi" Krecek, interim assistant dean of One Health and visiting professor in Veterinary Pathobiology (VTPB) and Dr. Angela Arenas, assistant professor in VTPB, travelled to South Africa in November 2015.
"South Africa is a rich platform for exploring the One Health wildlife-livestock-human interface to address societal needs," Krecek commented. "This wide biodiversity and broad experience of experts in this field continue to offer an ideal foundation for collaborative opportunities between Texas A&M and the University of Pretoria in South Africa."
Krecek and Arenas met with South African academic, government, and industry partners to advance Texas A&M's current and developing global projects. At the University of Pretoria, they met with colleagues and students in veterinary and health sciences and presented One Health seminars. This included meeting with Dean Darrell Abernethy, dean of the veterinary school (Faculty of Veterinary Science at Onderstepoort) and with colleagues from that institution. This was followed by meetings at the Faculty of Health Sciences, at the University of Pretoria. At Health Sciences, Dr. Marietjie Venter, professor of zoonotic viral diseases and director of the One Health Program for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Pretoria, South Africa, and Dr. Wanda Markotter, associate professor, Viral Zoonoses Group, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences hosted the Texas A&M visitors. Krecek and Arenas jointly presented seminars titled "One Health: The Bridge to New Opportunities" to next-generation One Health scientists.
Arenas stated, "These collaborations can lead to exchange programs for graduate students and residents to gain experience about wildlife and livestock infectious and parasitic diseases."
Current and developing global projects build on the strengths of Texas A&M and the University of Pretoria as well as collaborations to develop training and research capacities in infectious and parasitic endemic and transboundary livestock agents.