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Veterinarians seek adoption of ‘one health approach’ to curb zoonotic diseases

Veterinarians examining a dog

Veterinarians examining a dog

By Felicia Imohimi

Dr Bolanle Hakeem-Akanbi, an NYSC member, on Tuesday in Abuja called on stakeholders to adopt the `One Health Approach’ to prevent the spread of zoonotic diseases.

Hakeem-Akanbi made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines of the presentation of her project, ‘ Personal Community Development Service’.

The personal community development service is titled: One Health Approach to Zoonotic Diseases Control and Management.

Hakeem-Akanbi said that the one health approach was in collaboration with multiple sector; from human, animal and environment, toward the prevention and control of diseases, as well as other related health challenges.

She said, “it is in recognition of the interconnectivity of humans, animals, wildlife and plants, with their shared environment.”

Hakeem-Akanbi identified the stakeholders to include medical doctors, nurses, veterinarians, wildlife experts, agronomist, law enforcement agency, policy makers and traditional rulers.

Hakeem-Akanbi said health threat required one health approach, including but not limited to emerging and re-emerging diseases such as COVID-19 and Lassa fever.

Others are Moneybox, food safety issues, antimicrobial resistance, vector borne and neglected tropical diseases.

“In order to manage global and transnational health threats at the human-animal-environment interface.

“A multi-sectoral one health approach is required, in view of dwindling resources and acuteness of highly infectious diseases.

“One health approach is not a one man thing, every stakeholder in the society should be involved, particularly with regard to zoonotic disease,” she said.

Hakeem-Akanbi said that the implication of one-health approach to the country is that it saves cost, reduces food insecurity, nip in the bud, diseases’ outbreak, as well as ensure global health security.

The veterinarian frowned at the idea of a sector believing it is responsible for combating outbreak of diseases.

She however advised that professionals should not work in silos, to prevent and control diseases in the country.

Citing instances with the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak and Lassa fever, she said it took the collaborative efforts of the health sector, veterinary, law enforcement agency and the media among others, to nip the pandemic in the bud.

Hakeem-Akanbi, who decried the alarming rate in the spread of monkeypox in the country, called for synergy among doctors, nurses, veterinarians, wildlife experts and law enforcement agents, among others.

According to her, rather than working in silos or claiming a sector is encroaching into others, there was the need to adopt collaborative efforts to fight the spread of diseases.

She advised veterinary doctors to be useful to the society in the areas of public enlightenment on diseases, prevention and control, as well as reporting diseases early to relevant authorities.

“My CDS as a veterinarian is to champion One-health approach, to both human and animals health practitioners in the country on how to stem the spread of animal disease to human.

“I am here to create awareness on one-health approach which is the interconnection between the human health, animal health and the environment, so as to create and control the spread of diseases,” Hakeem-Akanbi stated.

Similarly, Dr Elisha Ishiaku, Researcher, National Veterinary Research Institute in VOM, Jos, advised young researchers against complacency, in an effort to develop drugs from the abundant resources in the country.

“Let researchers continue to work on plants among others, to ensure lasting solution to disease control.

“During the COVID-19, a lot of researches where conducted with regard to plants in an effort to nip the pandemic in the bud,” Ishiaku said. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

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Edited by Chinyere Nwachukwu/Bashir Rabe Mani

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