One Health Uganda
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(26.02.13) I am pleased to report that the One Health Initiative is alive and well and spreading. In my blog last November I reported on the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in support of One Health signed by the World Medical Association (WMA) and World Veterinary Association (WVA) at the WMA General Assembly meeting in Bangkok in October.
Following the meeting in Bangkok, Margaret Mungherera, MD, President-Elect of the WMA and President of the Ugandan Medical Association (UMA) took the idea of a MOU on One Health back to her country.
Dr. Mungherera reports that as a result last week there was a conference on One Health in Uganda sponsored by UMA and the Uganda Veterinary Association (UVA). The title of the conference was "Disease Eradication: What Will It Take?" Events began with a two-day preconference training of 20 Uganda District Health Officers and 20 District Veterinary Officers in charge of health services in that country. Concurrent with this Dr. Mungherera officiated at the the launch of a One Health Residency Program at Makerere University College of Veterinary Sciences.
The Minister of Health opened the conference and pledged her support of the One Health concept in Uganda national health policies. Representatives of USAID and WHO provided keynote addresses. A total of 40 papers were presented from among others Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Nigeria and The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The conference culminated with the signing of a MOU between the UMA and UVA. Plans are underway to develop strategies to implement the recommendations that came out of the conference.
The One Health Initiative is a movement that recognizes that human health; animal health and ecosystem health are inextricably linked. The goal is to promote, improve and defend the health and well being of all species. To implement this One Health seeks to forge co-equal, all-inclusive collaborations between physicians, osteopaths, veterinarians, dentists, nurses and other scientific-health and environmentally related disciplines.
In the realm of medicine and public health cooperation between these fields has never been more urgent. Of the nearly 1,500 diseases now recognized in humans 60 per cent are caused by pathogens that affect multiple animal species. The urgency for cooperation is particularly great in those developing countries around the world such as Sub Saharan Africa where the burden of infectious disease is high.