The West African Health Organisation says the adoption of a “One Health’’ approach in West Africa will strengthen the prevention, detection and response to infectious diseases in the region.
The Director-General of West African Health Organisation (WAHO), Dr Xavier Crespin, disclosed this at a meeting of the ECOWAS ‘One Health’ policy coordination platform on Thursday in Abuja.
Crespin said that the ECOWAS region was regularly faced with the threats of zoonosis, antimicrobial resistance and socio-economic consequences of epidemics caused by infectious diseases.
He explained that the diseases often include viral haemorrhagic fevers such as Ebola virus disease, rift valley and Lassa fever, among others.
According to him, the diseases in ECOWAS member states were due to the fact that humans and animals share the same ecosystem with an increased risk of disease development.
“To address this situation, ‘One Health’ approach promoted by the WHO and World Organisation of Animal Health (OIE) had proved to be an effective solution,” he said.
Crespin added that the approach was built on strengthening human health, animal health, environmental health and multiple sector coordination.
“These multiple sector interventions will build and maintain essential capacities to prevent, detect and respond to infectious disease threats and antimicrobial resistance with a view to enhancing regional health security,” Crespin said.
The director-general said that the 77th Ordinary Session of the council of ECOWAS held in December 2016, recommended adoption of establishment of regional coordination frame work on ‘one health’.
He emphasised that ECOWAS member states with support from international, technical and financial partners would work closely to achieve the results of the system.