West African Regional Conference on One Health


On 8-11 November 2016, more than 200 policymakers, public health experts and advocates from West Africa and around the world will gather in Dakar, Senegal, to discuss preventing, detecting,  preparing for and responding to emerging infectious disease outbreaks using the ‘One Health’ approach – one that takes into account the inextricable link between the health of humans, animals and their environments.

An estimated 75% of emerging infectious diseases are caused by pathogens that spread to people from animals or animal products. Trends like globalisation, urbanisation and climate change make it easy for these ‘zoonotic’ diseases to spread quickly around the world, as evidenced by the recent Ebola outbreak. 

For this reason, an approach that focuses on the human-animal-environmental health nexus is critical in enhancing early warning systems and responses to emerging infectious diseases. The upcoming West African Regional Conference on One Health will provide insights on the steps that countries in West Africa need to take to prevent the spread of disease from animals to people and to keep outbreaks that do arise from spreading globally. It will also address the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), due in large part to the overuse and misuse of antibiotics in humans, animals and agriculture. 

The first three days of the conference (8-10 November) will consist of technical sessions aimed at sharing lessons learned in implementing the One Health approach and at charting a way forward for stronger One Health policies and collaboration both within and between countries in West Africa. A high-level Ministerial Meeting will be held on the final day (11 November), during which country delegates will endorse a communiqué committing to taking steps to implement the One Health approach.

Ministers from the human health, animal health and wildlife sectors have been invited from 17 African countries, including: People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, Republic of Benin, Burkina Faso, Republic of Cabo Verde, Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, Republic of the Gambia, Republic of Ghana, Republic of Guinea, Republic of Guinea-Bissau, Republic of Liberia, Republic of Mali, Islamic Republic of Mauritania, Republic of Niger, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Republic of Senegal, Republic of Sierra Leone, and Togolese Republic. Representatives from the Republic of Cameroon and the Gabonese Republic will also join to share lessons learned in implementing the One Health approach in the Central African sub-region. Representatives from key multilateral and bilateral organizations, development agencies, development banks and civil society organizations will also participate. 

This event is being co- hosted by the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission in collaboration with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the West African Health Organization (WAHO), the Regional Animal Health Center (RAHC), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the World Bank, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  

Local and international journalists interested in learning more about the West African Regional Conference on One Health should contact onehealthmedia [at] globalhealthstrategies.com