Capacitating One Health in Eastern and Southern Africa – evidence shows appetite and pathways for institutional change

Peter Ballantyne
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One Health – an approach to sustainably balance and optimize the health of people, animals and ecosystems – is increasingly recognized as essential if we are to tackle and reduce some of the most pressing impacts on livelihoods and health for people, animals and ecosystems.

One Health is a classically collaborative response to a set of ‘wicked’ problems – complex, interconnected and not fully understood – that can’t be easily tackled through traditional sequential or sectoral “siloed” approaches. While individual health threats may require specific technical skills to address them, responses to increasingly multidimensional challenges like COVID-19, Ebola, avian influenza or the spread of antimicrobial resistant pathogens require collective, institutional and sometimes society-wide actions.

Achieving these collaborative responses poses institutional, societal and behavioral challenges that can only be overcome through different mindsets and renewed capacities. 

A recent conference of partners in the COHESA (Capacitating One Health in Eastern and Southern Africa) project shone a spotlight on exactly these institutional and behavioral strategies, providing a platform for the country teams to share progress and lessons.

Convened by ILRI and hosted by the University of Pretoria, this first biennial conference brought together project partners and ‘multipliers’ (local project implementors) to take stock of progress and set priorities for the coming years. Over three days in November 2023, 85 people from 13 countries reviewed progress and activities in four work packages (see image below), shared innovations and set out priorities for the coming years.......Read more