AFRICA – Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Health Organization (WHO) and World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) joins hands under One Health Approach to develop global guide addressing zoonotic diseases and standard tools to ensure a consistent, harmonized approach throughout the world.
Such standard tools include operational tools for conducting the Joint Risk Assessment (JRA) among others, which enables each sector to have a holistic understanding and integrated analysis of risk, joint identification of solutions and their implementation, with a stronger global commitment.
Health challenges at the human-animal-environment interface, such as zoonotic diseases (for example, avian influenza, rabies, Ebola, and Rift Valley fever) as well as food-borne diseases and antimicrobial resistance account for more than three quarters of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases and are a serious threat to animal and public health.
The first step to decreasing zoonotic disease threats is an understanding of where and why risks exist.
Historically, each sector has applied its own specific tools and processes for outbreak investigation, surveillance and risk assessment of zoonotic diseases.
Today, multi-sectoral approaches and tools have highlighted the need for multi-disciplinary and multi-sectoral collaboration, coordination and cooperation between the human, animal and environmental sectors to implement the One Health approach.
Despite the COVID-19, across the African continent several countries One Health platform have expressed interest to facilitate the JRA training tool before the end of 2021.
So far, 18 countries in the region have been trained and the One Health platforms of Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Senegal and Tanzania have used the tool after the training to address health concerns arising at environment-animal (domestic, wildlife) and human interface.
The JRA approach was first piloted in Indonesia in March 2018, based on zoonotic influenza and other national priority zoonotic diseases (rabies and leptospirosis).
To facilitate the rolling out the tool widely, Dakar held the first Africa regional facilitator training on the use of the JRA tool in 2019.
In order to make these structures and systems more sustainable and effective, national One Health platforms have discussed about lessons learnt and best practices on the operationalization of the Joint Risk Assessment tool during the meeting.
They have also identified priority areas of focus to improve the use of the JRA tool and to apply best practices.
These areas are: advocacy at high level to fast track the use of the JRA tool any time needed; domestic resource mobilization for the implementation of JRA recommendation; monitoring of the implementation of the JRA recommendations and JRA operationalization at sub-national level.