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A ‘One Health’ approach that targets people, animals

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

A ‘One Health’ approach that targets people, animals:


Various studies indicate that more than two-thirds of existing and emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic, or can be transferred between animals and humans, and vice versa, when the pathogen in question originates in any life form but circumvents the species barrier.

  • 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.

This forces us to acknowledge the interconnectedness of animals, humans, and the environment, an approach referred to as “One Health”.

What is OneHealth concept?

  • One Health is the collaborative efforts of multiple disciplines working locally, nationally, and globally, to attain optimal health for people, animals and our environment, as defined by the One Health Initiative Task Force.
  • One Health model facilitates interdisciplinary approach in disease control so as to control emerging and existing zoonotic threats.

India’s framework, plans:

India’s ‘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 World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) — a global initiative supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Bank under the overarching goal of contributing to ‘One World, One Health’.

  • In keeping with the long-term objectives, India established a National Standing Committee on Zoonoses as far back as the 1980s.
  • This year, funds were sanctioned for setting up a ‘Centre for One Health’ at Nagpur.
  • The Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying (DAHD) has launched several schemes to mitigate the prevalence of animal diseases since 2015, with a funding pattern along the lines of 60:40 (Centre: State); 90:10 for the Northeastern States, and 100% funding for Union Territories.

Need for coordination:

Scientists have observed that there are more than 1.7 million viruses circulating in wildlife, and many of them are likely to be zoonotic, which implies that unless there is timely detection, India risks facing many more pandemics in times to come.

What needs to be done?

  1. Consolidate existing animal health and disease surveillance systems — e.g., the Information Network for Animal Productivity and Health and the National Animal Disease Reporting System.
  2. Develop best-practice guidelines for informal market and slaughterhouse operation (e.g., inspections, disease prevalence assessments).
  3. Create mechanisms to operationalise ‘One Health’ at every stage down to the village level.



Prelims Link:

  1. One Health component under the National Mission on Biodiversity and Human Well Being.
  2. Zoonotic vs vector-borne diseases.
  3. Common OneHealth issues.

Mains Link:

One Health model is a globally accepted model for research on epidemiology, diagnosis and control of zoonotic diseases. Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.