One Health

One Health is part of the Future Africa research themes and the University of Pretoria strategic plan. The definitions differ widely, but most agree it involves a collaborative, multisectoral, and transdisciplinary approach to achieve optimal health outcomes and recognise the interconnection between people, animals, plants, and their shared environment. Africa has unique challenges, and a One Health approach must consider the context locally, regionally and globally. Historically "One Health" has been mostly associated with emerging infectious diseases, food security and antimicrobial resistance; however, it is a much broader approach in collaborative effort and disciplines. The Chair is instrumental in supporting and expanding One Health transdisciplinary research and activities across the University of Pretoria departments and faculties and between institutions, countries and continents. The Chair provides leadership and creates opportunities and resources to enable this, and by bringing people together, real-world problems and changes in behaviour through transdisciplinary thinking will occur.

The definition is based on One Health Foundational Principles

  • Equity between sectors and disciplines
  • Sociopolitical parity (all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities), inclusion and engagement of communities and marginalized voices
  • Socioecological equilibrium that seeks a harmonious balance between human-animal-environment interaction and acknowledging the importance of biodiversity, access to sufficient space and resources, and the intrinsic value of all living things within the ecosystem
  • Stewardship and the responsibility of humans to adopt sustainable solutions that recognise the importance of animal welfare and the integrity of the whole ecosystem, thus securing the well-being of current and future generations
  • Transdisciplinarity and multisectoral collaboration which includes all relevant disciplines, both modern and traditional forms of knowledge, and a broad representative array of perspectives.

Future Africa is aligning with these strategic directions of One Health including the One Health Joint Plan of Action (OH JPA)2 that aims to create a framework to integrate systems and capacity for effective and efficient prevention, prediction, detection, and response to health threats. In addition, we follow the OHHLEP Theory of Change to guide the implementation of One Health initiatives across the University, in South Africa, on the African continent, and globally. This theory emphasises the need for collaboration, communication, and coordination between various stakeholders, including academia, policymakers, researchers, health professionals, and community members.

The One Health Research Chair

Professor Wanda Markotter occupies the Future Africa Research Chair on People, Health, and Places (One Health). She also serves as the Director of the Centre for Viral Zoonoses (UP-CVZ) within the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Pretoria. In addition, Prof Markotter holds the DSI-NRF South African Research Chair in "Infectious Diseases of Animals " (Zoonoses). Her interdisciplinary research programme focuses on bat pathogens and predicting and preventing the risk of spillover. In 2021 she was appointed as the Co-Chair of the One Health High-Level Expert Panel (OHHLEP) advising the World Health Organisation (WHO), World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). She is also involved in several One Health activities with a pan-Africa focus.

The Research Chair on One Health aligns with the four focus areas of Future Africa:

  • Promoting transformative research in and for Africa
  • Developing transformative research leadership capacities
  • Building transformative global partnerships for African Research
  • Fostering a culture of dialogue and action
Prof Wanda Markotter
Research Chair
Prof Wanda Markotter View profile
Community Engagement Officer
Dr Tedson Nkoana

Our Programmes

  • National and global expert panels

    Prof Markotter is the Co-Chair of the One Health High-Level Expert Panel (OHHLEP), advising the Quadripartite (the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH, founded as OIE ). She is also on the South African National One Health Steering Committee and the National Rabies Advisory Committee. She is also part of the Africa One Health Network (AfOHNet)

  • CORE-P

    Future Africa is coordinating the COVID-19 research and engagement platform (CORE-P) to harness a vibrant community of practice driven by UP and to embrace a wide range of academia in Africa. The key principle of CORE-P is transdisciplinary research that brings various teams together to co-design targeted research outcomes and results for higher impact. CORE-P will not be limited to COVID-19, but will be highly motivated by the pandemic and its cascading social, ecological and economic impacts to co-create solutions to various aspects of lives and livelihoods affected by the crisis.

Our Project

  • The Food Systems Transformation in Southern Africa for One Health (FoSTA Health)

    This project is funded by the EU through a partnership with the University of Leeds and is focused on exploring emergent pathways of transformation in southern African food systems with a One Health focus. As part of this project, Work Package 5 (WP5) aims to develop inclusive visions and action plans for achieving positive One Health outcomes in southern Africa, and this work package is shared between South Africa and Zambia. The South African focus will be on the meat food system, specifically the beef and pork value chain, including informal and formal markets and their intercept. For more information, visit (

  • Community-Oriented Primary Care (UP COPC)

    The University of Pretoria Community-Oriented Primary Care (UP COPC) is a collaborative approach to healthcare that involves bringing together clinical and public health resources from the Faculty of Health Sciences and Faculty of Veterinary Science to work with people in defined communities to identify and respond to health-related needs systematically. The Mnisi Community Programme (MCP) is one of the COPC initiatives focusing on research into the human-animal-ecosystem interface and engaging with communities to ensure that research findings are relevant and accessible while promoting sustainable community upliftment through capacity building and innovative scientific initiatives. This forms part of a larger One Health Platform for research, training, and community engagement, which incl

  • The Capacitating One Health in Eastern and Southern Africa (COHESA)

    The Capacitating One Health in Eastern and Southern Africa (COHESA) aims to equip the workforce with essential core and technical competencies to apply a One Health approach to address complex health challenges. Additionally, the project seeks to foster a research and innovation ecosystem that facilitates the uptake, adaptation, and adoption of solutions derived from a One Health perspective. Overall, COHESA aims to strengthen the capacity of Eastern and Southern African countries to tackle health issues that require a collaborative and multidisciplinary approach. For more information, visit (

  • The Centre for Viral Zoonoses (UP CVZ)

    The Centre for Viral Zoonoses (UP CVZ) at the University of Pretoria is a world-class research centre that specialises in viral zoonotic diseases of significant public health concern, both in Africa and globally. The centre brings together established research groups in arbovirology, bat and other small mammal-borne viral diseases, rabies and rabies-related lyssaviruses, viral pathology, medical entomology, and ecology across three faculties - the Faculty of Health Sciences, the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, and the Faculty of Veterinary Science. For more information, visit ( The Southern Africa Bat Research Network (SABRENEt) is part of this centre and focuses on a One Health approach to predict and prevent spillover from bat

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