Potential of cooperation between human and animal health to strengthen health systems

  • Zinsstag J
  • Schelling E
  • Wyss K
 et al. 
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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 causing agents of outbreaks are often confounded. Lacking awareness may be very likely due lacking capacity and limited resources 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 separated sectors of both medicines. The present paper explores the underlying concepts of closer cooperation initially coined as “one medicine” and presents examples of its application and future potential emphasising the African context. Zoonoses are certainly the most prominent example of 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, legislations, communication and funding of both sectors. There is a large untapped potential of new institutional and operational models for providing health services jointly to remote populations which 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 zoonoses control, for which 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".

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  • Jakob Zinsstag

  • Esther Schelling

  • Kaspar Wyss

  • Mahamat Bechir Mahamat

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