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 October 2016 Dean's Corner.
Tanzania and Kenya are current leaders in Africa implementing a One Health approach to societal needs. Some of the One Health priorities being advanced in these countries include strengthening training capacity, surveillance and diagnostic capacity of zoonotic and transboundary diseases, and fostering an interdisciplinary approach to address challenges and to identify solutions.
During a recent visit (August-September 2016) to Tanzania and Kenya, Texas A&M faculty members Dr. Rosina “Tammi” Krecek, interim assistant dean of One Health and visiting professor in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology (VTPB), and Dr. Angela Arenas, assistant professor in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology (VTPB), met with national and local government leaders, veterinary college deans and directors of 12 veterinary livestock institutions and colleges, the U.S. Embassy, and vaccine facilities and other stakeholders. Specifically, this included two veterinary college deans, Dean Charles Mulie, University of Nairobi, Kenya and Dean Maullilio John Kipanyula, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania, as well as Assistant Director General, Dr. Shirley Tarawali,International Livestock Research Institute, Kenya.
One Health priority areas identified included capacity building in enhanced biosafety and biosecurity training, surveillance, diagnostics and epidemiology. Activities included presentations of seminars by both the Texas A&M team as well as by local scientists. Texas A&M colleagues presented several seminars including “Opportunities for Collaborative Global Capacity Building: Texas A&M One Health Initiative” by Krecek and “Advances in Brucella Diagnostics and Vaccines” by Arenas. In turn, Tanzanian and Kenyan colleagues presented their current research, and accompanied the Texas A&M colleagues to several laboratories and sites across the countries, which provided an experiential view of current programs. These forums were well attended and stimulated discussions which led to identification of priority areas, and next steps to creating platforms for training and capacity building. This visit built on current research projects that focus on One Health research, education and outreach programs to address and manage infectious and parasitic diseases.