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"One health": the potential of closer cooperation between human and animal health in Africa. (Bovine tuberculosis in Ethiopia.)

By J. Zinsstag, M. Tanner

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Emerging zoonoses affect livestock and humans, which calls for closer cooperation between animal and public health. Conceptually ideal, such cooperation is difficult to achieve and the causative agents of outbreaks are often confused. A lack of awareness may very likely be due to limited capacity and resources for available for diagnosis and surveillance of zoonoses, but also owing to the clinical perspective that focuses on the patients and much less on their surroundings. Consequently governments often neglect zoonotic diseases, reflecting the separation between human and veterinary medicine. The present paper explores the concept of closer cooperation initially coined as "one medicine" and presents examples of its application and future potential emphasizing the African context. Zoonoses are certainly the most prominent example of a compulsory interaction between human and animal health. The interaction of humans and animals in Africa is inextricably linked and hence needs a thorough rethinking of institutions, legislation, communication and funding of both sectors. There is a large untapped potential for new institutional and operational models to provide joint health services to remote populations; this is particularly relevant with regard to ongoing health sector reforms and the human resource crisis. Further, there is a potential for innovative, cost-effective approaches to the control of zoonoses. Pan-African networks would be the best justification for setting up a global fund for zoonoses, similar to and/or linked to the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Date 2008
Publication Title Ethiopian Journal of Health Development
Volume 22
Issue Special issue
Pages 105-108
ISBN/ISSN 1021-6790
Language English
Author Address Swiss Tropical Institute, PO Box, 4002 Basel, Switzerland.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Africa
  2. Animal health and hygiene
  3. Humans
  4. Mammals
  5. Medical sciences
  6. Medication
  7. Primates
  8. Veterinary medicine
  9. Zoonoses