The Veterinary Services Directorate (VSD) says it is finalising the ‘One Health Policy’ that will enable legal and mandatory requirement for closer and sustained collaboration between human, animal and environment sectors.
One Health, according to WHO, is a collaborative approach for strengthening systems to prevent, prepare, detect, respond to and recover from infectious diseases (and antimicrobial resistance) that threatens human, animal and environmental health.
As Ghana joins the rest of the world to mark the ‘One Health Day’ in retrospective, Dr Fenteng Danso, the Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer (VSD), said the Directorate would continue to coordinate and work with the One Health Technical group comprising National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), Ghana Health Service and the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure the realization of the policy.
The One Health Day, instituted by WHO, and celebrated annually on November 3, is an international campaign co-coordinated by nongovernmental and civil society organizations to bring global attention, increase public awareness and mobilize action.
Speaking at a public forum to mark the 2023 commemoration of the Day in Sunyani, Dr Danso commended the WHO, FAO and USAID and other development partners who had supported in diverse ways to ensure the draft One Health Policy was fine-tuned and passed accordingly.
“The current on-going response to the massive flooding of the nine districts in the Greater Accra, Eastern and Volta Regions, notwithstanding the devastating effects has not recorded any death is a testament of the relevance and usefulness of One Health Approach”, he stated.
Additionally, “the most recent experiences of COVID-19 pandemic and its successful containment is the evidence of One Health Approach”, Dr Danso added.
He therefore, encouraged all stakeholders in the One Health implementation to remain steadfast and committed to such a worthy course.
In a speech read on his behalf, Mr Eric Nana Agyemang-Prempeh, the Director-General of the NADMO highlighted the need for the nation to have a common One Health goal through coordinated mechanisms, joint planning and implementation, community participation, capacity building and joint monitoring and evaluation framework.
Madam Justina Owusu-Banahene, the Bono Regional Minister noted rapid population growth, globalization and environmental degradation, health threats had become more complex and as such solutions could not be found by one sector.
The One Health approach leverages the idea that problems impacting human health, animals, plants and the environment can be effectively resolved through improved co-ordination, communication and collaborative actions across disciplines that ensures these solutions can be sustainable.
“In recent times, the spread of zoonotic diseases that emerges in animals can quickly spread to humans, and the environmental degradation can lead to the spread of vector-borne diseases”, she said.
“This means that if proper mechanisms are put in place to ensure the well-being of one of the organisms mentioned we have catered for all due to their inter-connectivity”.
Mad Owusu-Banahene therefore asked the National and Regional Public Health Emergency Management Committee to build and implement effective collaborative One Health strategies and capacities, for improving the health of people, animals, and plants and the environment.