What is One Health?
‘One Health’, as a concept, has garnered priority and has now entered the common parlance after the COVID-19 pandemic. It is an integrating idea that aims to bring together different sectors to solve health, productivity, and conservation issues and thus, has major implications for India. While wildlife diversity, large livestock populations, and a high population density together contribute to the inter-compartmental spread of diseases, this also opens up opportunities for leveraging the complementarity and strengths that is inherent to each sector.
The Prime Minister's Science, Technology, and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC) recommended a ‘One Health Mission’ which will serve to coordinate, support, and integrate all the existing One Health activities in the country and fill gaps where it is appropriate.
There are many One Health efforts underway in various Ministries of the Government of India, in private organizations in addition to a range of activities globally. This presents a prospect to review the areas of focus underlying each effort, identify opportunities for collaboration and work towards filling any remaining gaps. The Mission is intended to develop a unified framework for addressing priority 'One Health diseases' (diseases of zoonotic nature, transboundary animal diseases as well as diseases of epidemic/pandemic potential) through cross-ministerial coordination. This Mission aims to bring together not only key governmental but also non-governmental stakeholders (such as academic institutions, private sector and international agencies that are active in this area) towards achieving the outcome of better disease control and preparedness.
Proposed Priority areas of One Health Mission
The major deliverable of the proposed One Health mission would be a unified pandemic preparedness plan that is created by taking into consideration technology and policy level interventions across human, livestock, and wildlife sectors. To develop a unified disease control strategy that takes into account the dynamics of all the three compartments - humans, livestock, and wildlife sectors, the following areas will be taken up as a priority in the mission: