UGANDA – Uganda has taken strides in fortifying its public health infrastructure through the adoption of the ‘One Health’ approach, aimed at predicting, preparing for, and effectively responding to a myriad of health challenges.

Clovice Kankya, Associate Professor at Makerere University, emphasized the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration at local, national, and global levels to achieve optimal health outcomes for people, animals, and the environment.

Speaking at a symposium on One Health, Kankya highlighted the critical role of proactive measures in combating highly infectious diseases such as Ebola, Anthrax, and Marburg, which often strain health systems and economies.

Makerere University is spearheading efforts to embed the One Health approach within communities through initiatives like the “Capacitating One Health in Eastern and Southern Africa” (COHESA) project, reports The Independent.

This four-year endeavor, supported by the European Union-funded Organization of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS) Research and Innovation Programme, aims to foster cross-sectoral collaboration, enhance research capacity, and equip educational institutions to address emerging health challenges.

Launching pilot outreach programs in Bunyangabu District, Makerere University aims to instill a mindset shift among communities by educating children and adults alike on the principles of One Health.

By collaborating with local organizations like the Young and Old Persons Integrated Development Programme, the university seeks to harness community knowledge and foster a culture of environmental stewardship and disease prevention.

Addressing global health concerns

The One Health approach resonates globally as an integrated strategy to balance and optimize the health of people, animals, and ecosystems. With approximately 75% of emerging infectious diseases originating from animals, close collaboration across sectors is essential to mitigate health threats and safeguard economies.

Uganda’s commitment to the One Health approach is evident through the establishment of the National One Health Platform, which coordinates efforts across ministries to address health challenges comprehensively.

Moreover, recognizing the intrinsic link between human activities and environmental health, stakeholders emphasize the vital role of environmental conservation in ensuring sustainable public health outcomes.

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