South Sudan commemorates International One Health Day
With the theme ‘collaboration for a better health outcome’, South Sudan celebrates International One Health Day to create awareness and enhance better understanding of human, animal and environmental health in strengthening collaboration and coordination for health emergency preparedness and response.
To celebrate the day and translate this year’s theme to the local context, the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, Ministry of Wildlife Conservation and Tourism and Ministry of Environment and Forestry in collaboration with the World Health Organization, World Bank, FAO, the World Organization for Animal Health, UNEP, UNDP, USAID and CDC conducted various activities including marching, public announcements and a series of radio talk shows to create public awareness of the significance of multisectoral collaboration to address complex health challenges at the human, animal and environment interface.
During the ceremony, the guest of honour, Honorable Dr Martin Elia Lomuro, Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Republic of South Sudan said, “the concept of One Health is a new approach. I urge all sectors to adopt the one health approach and develop a multi-sectoral strategy to manage the impact of each field on our health”. Hon. Dr Lomuro underscored the Government’s commitment to supporting the one health approach and called upon all partners to support the Government of South Sudan to address health issues.
One Health Day is an international campaign launched in 2016 by the One Health Commission, the One Health Initiative Autonomous pro bono team and the One Health Platform Foundation. The global campaign brings attention to the need for a One Health approach to address shared health threats at the human, animal and environmental interface.
In her speech the Honorable Minister for Health Hon. Yolanda Awel Deng Juach said, “as the theme states, collaboration and working together is vital to improve the health of the people of South Sudan. One Health Strategy enhances the 2030 sustainable development goals across all boards”.
“The Ministry of Health is implementing the approach on a small scale to prepare for and respond to infectious diseases including enhancing the Ebola virus disease preparedness and readiness. I encourage all stakeholders to be involved in the implementation of one health approach to improve the health of the people of South Sudan” Hon. Deng emphasized.
The One Health Day campaign is designed to engage as many individuals as possible from as many arenas in One Health education and awareness events to generate an inspiring array of projects worldwide.
In South Sudan, the day was observed with students from various institutions parading with one health visibility to create awareness among the major stakeholders and donors of the need for one health approach in addressing complex health threats
Addressing guests at the commemoration, Dr Fabian Ndenzako, WHO Representative for South Sudan, highlighted the importance of the one health approach. Dr Ndenzako said, “a single health issue may be influenced by interrelated social, environmental and economic factors that can best be addressed with a holistic multisectoral approach”. "In order to make One Health Approach functional in South Sudan, it requires a strong political will to formalize the multisectoral coordination platform, validate the one health strategic plan and the one health governance manual”.
During the event, delegates highlighted the need for strengthening zoonotic disease surveillance at the wildlife, livestock and human interface, sustainable rural livelihoods and best practices on the use of antimicrobial medicines as well as the role of the general public, healthcare workers and policymakers.
WHO with funding from the World Bank has been supporting the Ministry of Health to build networks across the human, animal and environmental sectors that provide opportunities for collaboration among many health-related disciplines with the involvement of all relevant sectors and partner organizations including private sectors.
“Working together allows us to have the greatest impact on improving the health of people, animals, plants and our shared environment,” said Mr Firas Raad, World Bank Country Manager for South Sudan. “The current South Sudan COVID -19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Project complements the investments of the World Bank Group and development partners in the strengthening health systems, disease control and surveillance, and interventions to change individual and institutional behaviour using the One Health approach.
WHO remains committed to working with all government ministries, development partners, donors and other stakeholders to have the biggest impact on improving the health for people, animals and our shared environment.
Annually, on 3 November One health day has been celebrated across the world since 2016. This year marks the seventh annual One Health Day celebration.
Dr Aggrey Bategereza, Email: bategerezaa [at] who.int
Dr Kwuakuan Yealue, Email: yealuek [at] who.int