By Mariama Sonnie Koroma
Sierra Leone has joined the world to observe the International One Health Day with the theme “one health collaboration for a healthier Sierra Leone. One health (OH) is an integrated Unifying Approach that aims to sustainably balance and optimize the health of people animals and ecosystem.
The occasion which was graced by state dignitaries and representatives from the US and UK who discussed issues around resolving complex global problems such as addressing human health, domestic and wild animal diseases, plant and the wider environment was presented.
The deputy chief medical officer for the Ministry of Health and Sanitation Alie H Wurie in his presentation said that the occasion is the 7th Annual Global commemoration of the International One Health Day and Sierra Leone is observing it for the 4th time because One Health was launched in Sierra Leone on the 6th June 2017. He added that monitoring the environment, fostering human and animal wellbeing require the collaboration of government, NGO’s, civil society and Academia. An active coordinator in the one health and emergency preparedness, Professor Alhaji .U. N’Jai explained that One Health is a mindset and a very important in moving the country forward adding that when it comes to active coordination in ongoing integrated disease surveillance, Sierra Leone is far ahead of other African countries. According to him, emergency preparedness and response, integrated disease surveillance, Bio safety and bio security, risk communication, immunization and vaccination, food and food safety are the strategic pillars the platform operates on. He added that Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Health, Office of National Security and Ministry of Environment are their core partner institutions, “but addressing gender issues and epidemics requires more than just these core partner institutions,” he added. “There is need for One Health policy, creating awareness about one health, mobilizing technical and financial resources,” he said.
Other partners such as the Food and Agriculture Organization, World Health Organization, U.S Center for Disease Control, Africa Center for Disease Control, U.S Agency for International Development, also made presentations by country representatives on efforts they have made in responding to disease risk and threat.
Speaking on behalf of the Vice President of Sierra Leone, Minister of Environmental and Climate Change, Foday Moriba Jaward said that there is need for a rethink on the approaches in addressing human and health issue. He furthered that collaboration and partnership, working together to promote the one health in addressing disease outbreaks should be the norm. “The lesson learnt from the Ebola outbreak called for the need to set up a platform as One Health in Sierra Leone as the nation’s economic strength will be threatened with recurring disease outbreaks” he added. He closed his speech by expressing gratitude to experts across the world who has contributed in the animal, plant and environmental health.