One Health: Preventing and combating pandemics worldwide

Project description

TitleGlobal Project on Pandemic Prevention and Preparedness, One Health
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Global
Overall term: 2021 to 2024

Context

Health is not only one of the prerequisites for a self-determined life, it is also essential to social development and sustainable economic development. The COVID-19 pandemic and the associated measures have had a severe impact on human health, the economy and society. Many developing countries and emerging economies are particularly affected. The pathogen causing this pandemic, SARS-CoV-2, has drawn attention to the importance of zoonotic diseases, in other words diseases that can be transferred from animals to humans. Many infectious diseases that are widespread among humans have their origin in the animal realm. Experts estimate that there are still around 1.7 million unknown viruses in wild mammals and birds. Of these, approximately 700,000 have the potential to cross over to humans.

A growing global population, climate change, increasing mobility, human penetration into previously untouched habitats, industrial agriculture and intensified livestock farming are all factors that increase the risk of pathogens spreading rapidly worldwide. In addition, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is on the increase. In other words, if pathogens become immune to common medicines, infections that were previously harmless and easy to treat can become life-threatening. In order to reduce these massive health risks, we need new approaches, also in the field of development cooperation.

The term ‘One Health’ stands for an end-to-end, interdisciplinary approach. It strives to improve global health and reduce risks. To this end, One Health considers interdependencies and interactions between human, animal and environmental health. One example of this is climate change, which allows disease-transmitting insects to spread to further areas.

One Health is committed to preventive measures in all three areas. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) strives to mainstream this approach in international (development) cooperation across different sectors.

Objective

Selected countries and regional organisations are in a better position to prevent and combat epidemics and pandemics.

diagram-of-health-report-topics-perspective

Approach

The project works in three, closely interlinked areas. Firstly, it aims to improve cooperation with regard to One Health at international and regional level. Secondly, the project strives to strengthen institutions of relevance to implementing the One Health approach. Thirdly, it aspires to develop and promote technical and specialist skills in connection with One Health.

The German Epidemic Preparedness Team (SEEG) also plays a role here. With its multidisciplinary team, it is able to work at complex contact points between human, animal and environmental health.

Overall, cooperation between international, regional and national organisations and institutions has improved. Four to six partner countries are integrating One Health into their development strategies. This is crucial for the targeted and long-term implementation of the One Health approach.

The project also promotes digital solutions, which make it possible to detect and deal with outbreaks of diseases more quickly. One example here is the open source application SORMAS (Surveillance, Outbreak Response Management and Analysis System). Digital solutions are essential in order to be better prepared for the outbreak of future epidemics or pandemics.

Last update: March 2021