Advancing One Health: Insights from the Status of One Health in SA Webinar

The Status of One Health in South Africa webinar convened on 19 January 2024, marked a significant milestone in the country's commitment to holistic approaches in addressing health challenges at the human-animal-ecosystem-environment interface. Hosted by the National One Health Forum Committee and supported by Future Africa at the University of Pretoria, this event brought together key stakeholders to discuss the progress and future direction of One Health initiatives in South Africa, the continent, and globally.

The webinar featured distinguished speakers from government, academia, and international organisations, who provided valuable insights into the importance of One Health in addressing health challenges at the intersection of human, animal, ecosystem, and environmental health.

Ms Tsakani Furumele, representing the Department of Health (DoH), set the stage for the discussions with her remarks highlighting the importance of upholding the One Health concept in our public health emergencies. She emphasised, “Pandemic preparedness was added as another pillar to the presidential compact”.

Professor Wanda Markotter, UP Professor and Future Africa Research Chair in People, Health, and Places (One Health), underscored the crucial role of prevention in One Health strategies, highlighting the importance of preparedness in mitigating future outbreaks as set out in the One Health Joint Plan of Action.

Dr Lillian Wambua from the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) outlined the National Bridging Workshop, which highlighted the existing foundation for One Health collaborations in South Africa while advocating for the amplification and strengthening of institutionalisation at all levels.

 

NOHF Webinar Attendance

 

Mr Abednego Baker from the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE) emphasised the integration of One Health as a significant tool in Environmental Management especially management of human and environmental impacts.

An interactive roundtable discussion was held on the essentialness of One Health in responding to the avian influenza outbreak in South Africa owing to human, environmental, and ecosystem risk factors.

Presentations from experts across various national departments, including Health (DoH), Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment (DFFE), Agriculture, Land Reform, and Rural Development (DALRRD) were shared during the webinar. Moreover, the discussions were enriched with global insights and best practices by international perspectives provided by representatives from the Quadripartite Organizations through the World Organisation for Animal Health and the One Health High-Level Expert Panel.

Drawing a diverse audience comprising representatives from government agencies, academic institutions, international organisations, NGOs, and the private sector, the webinar had 284 attendees from 14 different countries, including Ethiopia, Germany, Kenya, the United States of America, Liberia, and France. This global participation highlighted the international interest and dedication to advancing One Health principles.

For further insights, access all the recordings of the webinar here.