One health


One Health is an integrated, unifying approach to balancing and optimizing human, animal and ecosystem health. He used the close, interdependent connections between these fields to create new methods for monitoring and controlling disease.

For example, the way land is used can affect the number of malaria cases. Weather patterns and man-made controls on water can affect diseases such as dengue. Trade in live wildlife can increase the likelihood that infectious diseases will pass to humans (called disease spread).

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for a global framework for improved surveillance and a more holistic, integrated system. Gaps in knowledge, prevention and integrated One Health approaches are seen as key drivers of the pandemic. By addressing the connections between human, animal and environmental health, One Health is seen as a transformative approach to improved global health.

Scope of the problem

The emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that caused COVID-19 highlighted the need to strengthen the One Health approach, with greater emphasis on animal health and environmental linkages (see the WHO Manifesto for a healthy recovery from COVID-19 ). Attempts to save money by neglecting environmental protection, emergency preparedness, health systems, water and sanitation infrastructure, and social safety nets have turned out to be a false economy, and the bill is now being paid many times over.

We now have an unprecedented opportunity to strengthen cooperation and policies in these many areas and reduce the risk of future pandemics and epidemics while addressing the ongoing burden of endemic and non-communicable diseases

Monitoring is needed that monitors risks and helps identify patterns in these many areas. Moreover, new research needs to integrate the impact of these different fields, especially on the drivers that lead to crises.


The implementation of One Health requires major structural changes to integrate the fields of human, animal and environmental health and to support multi-sectoral communication, collaboration, coordination and capacity building.

Critical One Health implementation gaps include:

  • databases and resources to support information sharing and action in line with the One Health approach;
  • identifying and presenting examples of best practices for implementing One Health;
  • mapping existing One Health research initiatives and capacity and building the next generation One Health workforce;
  • One Health Integrated Monitoring System model;
  • mechanisms for routine and emergency coordination with relevant stakeholders;
  • a more complete understanding of the drivers of the spread of zoonotic diseases (transmitted between animals and humans). This includes animal trade, agriculture, animal husbandry, urbanization and habitat fragmentation;
  • a standardized approach to assess the risks of the spread of pathogens between different animal populations and humans and the occurrence of zoonoses, including those occurring in food systems; and
  • methods to identify and reduce the risks of spreading and spreading zoonotic diseases in ways that minimize trade-offs and maximize co-benefits with other health and sustainable development goals.

WHO response

WHO integrates One Health across its units and offices, providing strategic policy advice and training at local, national and regional levels. The goal is stronger programs that are state-led and owned.

WHO is a member of the Quadripartite One Health with the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Organization for Animal Health and the United Nations Environment Programme. Together, they developed a Joint Action Plan for One Health, which includes a set of activities that the 4 organizations can do together, including working with political leaders to create the necessary infrastructure and funding.

WHO is the secretariat of the One Health High Level Expert Group (OHHLEP), which provides scientific advice to the quadripartite partners on setting One Health priorities, policies and strategies. This includes recommendations for good practice guidelines, a model Single Health Surveillance System, a comprehensive list of antecedent drivers of the spread of zoonotic diseases and recommendations for mitigating these risks.

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