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1.
One Health ; 14: 100400, 2022 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1851903

ABSTRACT

The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic reinforced the central role of the One Health (OH) approach, as a multisectoral and multidisciplinary perspective, to tackle health threats at the human-animal-environment interface. This study assessed Brazilian preparedness and response to COVID-19 and zoonoses with a focus on the OH approach and equity dimensions. We conducted an environmental scan using a protocol developed as part of a multi-country study. The article selection process resulted in 45 documents: 79 files and 112 references on OH; 41 files and 81 references on equity. The OH and equity aspects are poorly represented in the official documents regarding the COVID-19 response, either at the federal and state levels. Brazil has a governance infrastructure that allows for the response to infectious diseases, including zoonoses, as well as the fight against antimicrobial resistance through the OH approach. However, the response to the pandemic did not fully utilize the resources of the Brazilian state, due to the lack of central coordination and articulation among the sectors involved. Brazil is considered an area of high risk for emergence of zoonoses mainly due to climate change, large-scale deforestation and urbanization, high wildlife biodiversity, wide dry frontier, and poor control of wild animals' traffic. Therefore, encouraging existing mechanisms for collaboration across sectors and disciplines, with the inclusion of vulnerable populations, is required for making a multisectoral OH approach successful in the country.

2.
One Health Outlook ; 4(1): 2, 2022 Jan 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1633435

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Over the past decade, 70% of new and re-emerging infectious disease outbreaks in East Africa have originated from the Congo Basin where Rwanda is located. To respond to these increasing risks of disastrous outbreaks, the government began integrating One Health (OH) into its infectious disease response systems in 2011 to strengthen its preparedness and contain outbreaks. The strong performance of Rwanda in responding to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic makes it an excellent example to understand how the structure and principles of OH were applied during this unprecedented situation. METHODS: A rapid environmental scan of published and grey literature was conducted between August and December 2020, to assess Rwanda's OH structure and its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, 132 documents including official government documents, published research, newspaper articles, and policies were analysed using thematic analysis. RESULTS: Rwanda's OH structure consists of multidisciplinary teams from sectors responsible for human, animal, and environmental health. The country has developed OH strategic plans and policies outlining its response to zoonotic infections, integrated OH into university curricula to develop a OH workforce, developed multidisciplinary rapid response teams, and created decentralized laboratories in the animal and human health sectors to strengthen surveillance. To address COVID-19, the country created a preparedness and response plan before its onset, and a multisectoral joint task force was set up to coordinate the response to the pandemic. By leveraging its OH structure, Rwanda was able to rapidly implement a OH-informed response to COVID-19. CONCLUSION: Rwanda's integration of OH into its response systems to infectious diseases and to COVID-19 demonstrates the importance of applying OH principles into the governance of infectious diseases at all levels. Rwanda exemplifies how preparedness and response to outbreaks and pandemics can be strengthened through multisectoral collaboration mechanisms. We do expect limitations in our findings due to the rapid nature of our environmental scan meant to inform the COVID-19 policy response and would encourage a full situational analysis of OH in Rwanda's Coronavirus response.

3.
Global Health ; 17(1): 128, 2021 11 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1505455

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: A special session of the World Health Assembly (WHA) will be convened in late 2021 to consider developing a WHO convention, agreement or other international instrument on pandemic preparedness and response - a so-called 'Pandemic Treaty'. Consideration is given to this treaty as well as to reform of the International Health Regulations (IHR) as our principal governing instrument to prevent and mitigate future pandemics. MAIN BODY: Reasons exist to continue to work with the IHR as our principal governing instrument to prevent and mitigate future pandemics. All WHO member states are party to it. It gives the WHO the authority to oversee the collection of surveillance data and to issue recommendations on trade and travel advisories to control the spread of infectious diseases, among other things. However, the limitations of the IHR in addressing the deep prevention of future pandemics also must be recognized. These include a lack of a regulatory framework to prevent zoonotic spillovers. More advanced multi-sectoral measures are also needed. At the same time, a pandemic treaty would have potential benefits and drawbacks as well. It would be a means of addressing the gross inequity in global vaccine distribution and other gaps in the IHR, but it would also need more involvement at the negotiation table of countries in the Global South, significant funding, and likely many years to adopt. CONCLUSIONS: Reform of the IHR should be undertaken while engaging with WHO member states (and notably those from the Global South) in discussions on the possible benefits, drawbacks and scope of a new pandemic treaty. Both options are not mutually exclusive.


Subject(s)
International Health Regulations , Pandemics , Global Health , Humans , International Cooperation , Pandemics/prevention & control , World Health Organization
4.
Global Health ; 17(1): 25, 2021 03 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1119430

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The 2005 International Health Regulations (IHR (2005)) require States Parties to establish National Focal Points (NFPs) responsible for notifying the World Health Organization (WHO) of potential events that might constitute public health emergencies of international concern (PHEICs), such as outbreaks of novel infectious diseases. Given the critical role of NFPs in the global surveillance and response system supported by the IHR, we sought to assess their experiences in carrying out their functions. METHODS: In collaboration with WHO officials, we administered a voluntary online survey to all 196 States Parties to the IHR (2005) in Africa, Asia, Europe, and South and North America, from October to November 2019. The survey was available in six languages via a secure internet-based system. RESULTS: In total, 121 NFP representatives answered the 56-question survey; 105 in full, and an additional 16 in part, resulting in a response rate of 62% (121 responses to 196 invitations to participate). The majority of NFPs knew how to notify the WHO of a potential PHEIC, and believed they have the content expertise to carry out their functions. Respondents found training workshops organized by WHO Regional Offices helpful on how to report PHEICs. NFPs experienced challenges in four critical areas: 1) insufficient intersectoral collaboration within their countries, including limited access to, or a lack of cooperation from, key relevant ministries; 2) inadequate communications, such as deficient information technology systems in place to carry out their functions in a timely fashion; 3) lack of authority to report potential PHEICs; and 4) inadequacies in some resources made available by the WHO, including a key tool - the NFP Guide. Finally, many NFP representatives expressed concern about how WHO uses the information they receive from NFPs. CONCLUSION: Our study, conducted just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, illustrates key challenges experienced by NFPs that can affect States Parties and WHO performance when outbreaks occur. In order for NFPs to be able to rapidly and successfully communicate potential PHEICs such as COVID-19 in the future, continued measures need to be taken by both WHO and States Parties to ensure NFPs have the necessary authority, capacity, training, and resources to effectively carry out their functions as described in the IHR.


Subject(s)
Disease Notification/legislation & jurisprudence , International Health Regulations , Public Health Administration/legislation & jurisprudence , COVID-19 , Disease Outbreaks/prevention & control , Global Health , Humans , Surveys and Questionnaires , World Health Organization
5.
Can J Public Health ; 111(5): 641-644, 2020 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-750323

ABSTRACT

This commentary discusses the contributions that One Health (OH) principles can make in improving the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We highlight four areas where the application of OH has the potential to significantly improve the governance of infectious diseases in general, and of COVID-19 in particular. First, more integrated surveillance infrastructure and monitoring of the occurrence of infectious diseases in both humans and animals can facilitate the detection of new infectious agents sharing similar genotypes across species and the monitoring of the spatio-temporal spread of such infections. This knowledge can guide public and animal health officials in their response measures. Second, application of the OH approach can improve coordination and active collaboration among stakeholders representing apparently incompatible domains. Third, the OH approach highlights the need for an effective institutional landscape, facilitating adequate regulation of hotspots for transmission of infectious agents among animals and humans, such as live animal markets. And finally, OH thinking emphasizes the need for equitable solutions to infectious disease challenges, suggesting that policy response mechanisms and interventions need to be reflective of the disproportionate disease burdens borne by vulnerable and marginalized populations, or by persons providing health care and other essential services to those sick.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , One Health , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Animals , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Humans , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology
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