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Discussants deliberate on control of zoonotic diseases

BY: Benjamin Xornam Glove
Dr Argata Guracha Guyo (3rd from right), Representative of the WHO, interacting with Dr Franklin Asiedu-Bekoe, (2nd from right), Director Public Health, GHS, and Seji Saji (right), Deputy Director-General of NADMO, at the workshop. Picture: BENJAMIN XORNAM GLOVER
Dr Argata Guracha Guyo (3rd from right), Representative of the WHO, interacting with Dr Franklin Asiedu-Bekoe, (2nd from right), Director Public Health, GHS, and Seji Saji (right), Deputy Director-General of NADMO, at the workshop. Picture: BENJAMIN XORNAM GLOVER

Discussants have begun deliberations on ways to synchronise health approaches to control the spread of zoonotic diseases.

They include stakeholders and experts from the human and animal health services, who are examining strategies to strengthen preparedness and response systems to bring zoonotic diseases under control.

The deliberations form part of an initiative termed: One Health Approach — a strategy that encourages inter-disciplinary collaboration among animal and human health experts, environmental experts and relevant sectors to promote public health and health security.

The three-day international health regulations (IHR) and performance of veterinary services (PVS) national bridging workshop, being organised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH), in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation, began in Ada in the Greater Accra Region yesterday.

Emerging diseases

The WHO Country Representative, Dr Francis Kasolo, in an address delivered on his behalf by the Country Emergency Preparedness Officer of the WHO, Dr Argata Guracha Guyo, said majority of emerging and re-emerging human diseases had their origins in animals, and that diseases of animals had additional implications on human health.


He said the recent surge in emerging infectious zoonotic diseases, such as the novel coronavirus, the Ebola virus and zoonotic and pandemic influenza viruses, had increased awareness of the critical need to address health issues to achieve health objectives.

Dr Kasolo expressed the hope that at the end of the workshop, participants would have a clear understanding of the added value of a one health approach for the management of public health events to ensure global health security.

The Director of Public Health of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Franklin Asiedu-Bekoe, said the concept of one health in the country was not new, adding that over the years the GHS had collaborated with the animal health sector, especially the Veterinary Services Department and the Wildlife Division, in the management of some diseases.

He added that the one health concept offered the nation the opportunity to improve in the management of public health emergencies.

The Deputy Director-General of NADMO, Seji Saji, also said the approach provided an opportunity to foster closer collaboration and stronger working relationships among human, animal and environmental health practitioners, as well as provide mechanisms for building efficient systems for information sharing across all sectors.

For her part, the WOAH Regional One Health Programme Officer, Dr Lillian Wambua, said the COVID-19 pandemic and other threats, such as re-emerging diseases such as Ebola and prevailing endemic diseases such as rabies, had demonstrated the fact that the health of humans and livestock, wildlife and ecosystems were, indeed, co-dependent.

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