US health experts tip Ugandan medics to Adopt One Health Concepts in Disease Control

Monday, 9 November 2015 - 1:53pm
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The Vice President for Health Sciences University of Minnesota, Prof. Brooks Jackson during the One Health Approach Workshop at the Infectious Diseases Institue Makerere Univeristy College of Health Sciences on November 2015. Photos/Juliet Waiswa- New Vision

By Violet Nabatanzi & Juliet Waiswa (New Vision Article)

US based health experts have advised Ugandan medics, to adopt the One Health Concept in order to control and manage emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases.

The re-emerging diseases caused as a result of interface with animals, include Ebola, Marburg, Tuberculosis, Anthrax and Sleeping sickness which are transmitted from animals to humans.

This according to experts will improve the health of patients through the prevention of risks and the mitigation of emerging epidemics which are as a result of the interface between humans, animals and their various environments

The One Health concept recognizes that the health of humans, animals and ecosystems are interconnected. 

It involves applying a coordinated, collaborative, multidisciplinary and cross-sectoral approach to address potential or existing risks that originate at the animal-human-ecosystems interface.

The experts said all sectors ranging from veterinary, medics, epidemiologist, researchers and communities should engage in research and treatment of such infections.

Speaking during a symposium on public health at Makerere University College of Health Sciences, the Vice President for Health Sciences University of Minnesota, Prof. Brooks Jackson, noted that there’re emerging infectious diseases in animals which affect human beings.

Jackson said the collaboration between his University and College of Sciences, will address public health concerns, through training of medics to manage major diseases like Ebola.

"We need to train people to work in disciplinary way to address some of the major diseases.

The head of research at the Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI), Dr. Andrew Kambugu explained that the one health approach is a concept which fronts preventive aspects instead of waiting for outbreaks which are disastrous.

"We should address the disease and this can best be done together with other professionals like the veterinary doctors, medics, epidemiologist, nurses and communities in order to address the diseases," Kambugu explained.

He revealed that previously doctors have been waiting at the health facilities for the patients instead of moving to the communities where the outbreak have occurred and this has  been affecting treatment of patients.

The Principal College of Veterinary Medicine Animal Resources and Biosecurity (COVAB), Makerere University, Dr. David Kabasa, explained that it is prudent for Uganda  to embrace the One Health approach because many people are now getting in contact with animals in their homes.

Kabasa said people sleep with animals in their homes while others go to the forests to hurt and these wild animals transmit diseases which affect humans.

He explained that Ugandans need to work together globally, locally, nationally to attain optimal health for people, domestic animals wild animals, plants and environment.

He revealed that the concept is a recent issue which needs to be addressed from the community level as most outbreaks are noticed in communities.

The theme of the symposium is "Supporting and Celebrating Interdisciplinary and Transnational Research Collaboration"