DMPQ-Define the concept of ‘One Health’. Explain why it has become more important amid the covid-19 pandemic.

. The father of modern pathology, Rudolf Virchow, emphasised in 1856 that there are essentially no dividing lines between animal and human medicine.This concept is ever more relevant as the world is facing a second wave of Covid-19 pandemic. This approach is referred to as “One Health”, focuses on acknowledging the interconnectedness of animals, humans, and the environment.

It involves a multidisciplinary and cross-sectoral approach to address potential or existing risks that originate at the animalhuman-ecosystems interface. To achieve the ‘One Health’ vision, challenges pertaining to veterinary manpower shortages, the lack of information sharing between human and animal health institutions, and inadequate coordination on food safety at slaughter, distribution, and retail facilities and others must be addressed.

‘One Health’ vision derives its blueprint from the agreement between the tripartite-plus alliance comprising the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

The overarching purpose is to encourage collaborations in research and sharing of knowledge at multiple levels across various disciplines like human health, animal health, plants, soil, environmental and ecosystem health in ways that improve, protect and defend the health of all species.

Scientists have observed that there are more than 1.7 million viruses circulating in wildlife, and many of them are likely to be zoonotic. Another category of diseases, “anthropozoonotic” infections, gets transferred from humans to animals.

The transboundary impact of viral outbreaks in recent years such as the Nipah virus, Ebola, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Avian Influenza has further reinforced the need for us to consistently document the linkages between the environment, animals, and human health.

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