MALAWI – The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has joined forces with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Malawian Government to launch the “Enhancing Animal Health & One Health Capacities to Mitigate Zoonotic Diseases and Antimicrobial Resistance Risks & Threats” project.

This milestone marks a significant stride in the fight against emerging health threats at the intersection of animals, humans, and the environment.

The primary objective of the project is to bolster Malawi’s Animal Health sector, enhancing its ability to prevent, detect, and respond to public health threats.

This comprehensive initiative focuses on four pivotal areas to address the complex challenges at the intersection of human, animal, and environmental health.

First and foremost, the project aims to craft a Multisectoral Workforce Strategy rooted in the One Health approach, encouraging collaboration across animal health, human health, and environmental protection sectors.

The objective is to develop a cohesive and holistic workforce strategy that fosters unity in addressing health challenges.

Another critical facet involves the enhancement of Surveillance and Early Warning Systems, ensuring a proactive response to potential threats posed by zoonotic diseases and antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

The project will invest in upgrading Diagnostic Capacity and Laboratory Services tailored specifically for zoonotic diseases and AMR, laying the groundwork for efficient detection and management.

Lastly, recognizing the pivotal role of community engagement, the initiative seeks to build Capacity for Risk Communication and Community Engagement.

Through these efforts, the project aims to raise awareness about zoonotic diseases and AMR, emphasizing the importance of community involvement in mitigating health risks.

In addition, the initiative will support the development and implementation of national and regional One Health plans, fostering a comprehensive and integrated approach to health challenges.

At the launch event, attended by key stakeholders, representatives from FAO Malawi, USAID Malawi, and the Malawian Government highlighted the collaborative nature of the project.

Mohammad Naeem from FAO Malawi underscored the role of the project in building robust Animal Health systems, while Julius Chulu, Director of Animal Health & Livestock Development, emphasized the link between a healthy population and wealth creation.

Christina Lau, Director of the Health, Population and Nutrition Office at USAID Malawi, stressed the global importance of advancing health security through collaboration among human, animal, and environmental partners.

The project’s anticipated impact includes the establishment of a resilient health system in Malawi, effectively combating zoonotic diseases and the rising challenge of antimicrobial resistance.

Rooted in the principles of the One Health approach, the initiative aspires to create a sustainable and collaborative framework, contributing not only to Malawi’s health security but also aligning with global efforts to ensure a safer and healthier world for all.

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