Based on overarching goals of the academic community for One Health action, research priorities to support the community will focus following five areas, including One Health governance, control of zoonotic infections, food security and food safety, control of AMR, and impact evaluation of climate changes on health.
One Health governance
One Health governance refers to the development, implementation, and oversight of policies that support the One Health approach. It encompasses eight dimensions, including public participation, rule of law, transparency, responsiveness, consensus orientation, fairness and inclusivity, effectiveness and efficiency, and policy support . An effective governance framework is crucial for countries to detect, mitigate, and prevent public health threats .
A major challenge is the lack of coordination between different sectors and stakeholders . Many countries have siloed approaches to health, agriculture, and the environment, which hinder the adoption of the One Health ethos. Additionally, the lack of a shared understanding of the roles and responsibilities of different actors in One Health, as well as insufficient human and financial commitments, exacerbate this challenge.
To address this issue, the academic community should facilitate the development of effective One Health governance frameworks that span multiple sectors and disciplines, drawing from lessons learned towards best practices. The academic community will also advocate for the establishment of a global governance framework for One Health, providing an international reference point for countries aiming to improve their own One Health governance.
Control of zoonotic infections
Zoonotic diseases are a high-priority target for the One Health approach. Zoonotic diseases are challenging for global surveillance, prevention, and control measures. One of the main factors is the emergence of these diseases, which highlights the need for a better understanding of the dynamics of pathogen spillover and transmission between animals and humans so that intervention strategies could be developed to zoonoses more effectively . Additionally, there is a lack of understanding regarding the drivers of zoonotic disease emergence, including changes in climate, land use, and wildlife trade .
To address these challenges, the academic community will facilitate research to identify the drivers of zoonotic disease emergence and enhance surveillance and prevention strategies. This will require interdisciplinary collaboration among public health, veterinary medicine, wildlife ecology, and the social and economic sciences. The academic community will also strengthen countries’ capacities to detect, report, and respond to zoonotic disease outbreaks by three activities: (i) expanding laboratory capacity, including improving laboratory professional level, building reference laboratory networks, standardizing standard operating procedures, etc.; (ii) improving disease surveillance efficiency, including applying innovative surveillance tools, enhancing surveillance and response systems, improving the surveillance evaluation approaches, etc.; and (iii) strengthening animal health systems, including enlarging animal surveillance networks, developing animal disease alarming system, optimizing animal health management, etc.
Food security and food safety
Food security and food safety is a complex issue that affects all aspects of human life. It involves ensuring that people have access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that is appropriate for their culture and lifestyle . One of the key objectives of the academic community is to improve global food security and food safety through the One Health approach.
Currently, over 820 million people worldwide suffer from chronic hunger, while an additional 2 billion people suffer from malnutrition due to a lack of essential micronutrients in their diets . Climate change further exacerbates this situation by causing more frequent and severe weather events that reduce agricultural productivity and accessibility. Additionally, the world’s population is expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, which will increase the demand for food by 70% . These challenges highlight the need for the One Health approach to address food insecurity and malnutrition.
To improve food security, the academic community will promote sustainable agricultural practices, enhance the resilience of supply chains to climate change and other shocks, reduce food waste, improving food safety, and enhance food accessibility. The One Health approach will address these objectives by working with organizations and governments to incorporate the interdependence of human, animal, and environmental health in their initiatives.
Control of antimicrobial resistance
AMR is a major public health threat and another key focus of the academic community. AMR occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites develop resistance to antimicrobial drugs, making it more difficult to treat infections . The misuse of antimicrobials in healthcare, agriculture, and animal husbandry is a significant driver of AMR, but effective surveillance can slow its spread.
One of the main challenges in addressing AMR is the lack of awareness and understanding among the public who access drugs over the counter, and healthcare professionals who administer them in bulk, both behaviors that contribute to resistance. Additionally, developing new antimicrobials is slow and costly, and even newly developed drugs can quickly become ineffective if they are similarly misused .
To combat AMR, the academic community targets at educating the public and healthcare professionals about the risks of AMR and the importance of appropriate antimicrobial use, as well as improving access to diagnostic tests to ensure that antimicrobials are only used when necessary.
In addition to these efforts, the academic community should work to improve surveillance and monitoring of AMR in various One Health components including wild life and migratory birds along with development of better methods for tracking the spread of resistant pathogens between animals, humans and ecosystems. The academic community also supports the development of rapid and cost-effective point-of-care testing AMR diagnostic technologies, alternative treatments, and vaccines to mitigate the impact of AMR. Through these efforts, the academic community hopes to slow the spread of AMR and preserve the effectiveness of crucial drugs.
Impact evaluation of climate changes on health
Climate change is one of the most pressing global challenges of our time. Its impacts are vast and far-reaching, affecting not only the natural world but also human health and well-being. Disadvantaged and vulnerable populations are disproportionately affected. Climate change exacerbates existing health problems and poses new risks, such as increased frequency and severity of extreme weather events, changing patterns of infectious diseases, and food and water insecurity . Addressing the impacts of climate change requires a multidisciplinary and multisectoral approach, with a focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, adapting to the changing climate, and promoting sustainable development.
The One Health approach provides an essential framework for addressing the health impacts of climate change . Key strategies include promoting sustainable agriculture and food systems, improving water and sanitation infrastructure, developing early warning systems for extreme weather events and infectious diseases, etc. In addition, the One Health approach emphasizes the importance of collaboration and engagement with all stakeholders, including governments, civil society, the private sector, and local communities, to build resilience and promote sustainable development in the face of climate change. The academic community will also support the implementation of sustainable, low-emission, resilient practices in industries such as agriculture, transportation, and energy to mitigate the impacts of climate change.