PAHO Directing Council agrees to apply "One Health" approach to cope with threats connected to the links between people, animals and environment

The 59th Directing Council of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) approves resolution on the "One Health" approach

Washington, D.C., September 24, 2021 - The 59th Directing Council of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) approved the resolution "One Health": a comprehensive approach to address health threats at the human-animal-environment interface.

The "One Health" approach policy seeks to promote the coordination and collaboration of the human, animal, plant, and environmental health programs. This coordination will improve the prevention and preparedness for future health threats arising from the interconnection between humans, animals, and the environment. Those threats include antimicrobial resistance (AMR), zoonotic diseases, and food safety among others.

Worldwide, about 60% of the infectious organisms known to be harmful to humans are zoonotic and come from an animal source or origin. The 700,000 or more deaths that antimicrobial resistance is now estimated to cause every year could grow to 10 million by 2050. Unsafe food is estimated to cause 600 million cases of foodborne diseases and 420,000 deaths globally every year; and in the Region of the Americas, 77 million people and 31 million children under five years of age die each year from contaminated sources.

The most recent example of emerging disease is COVID-19, which spread from an unknown source and is currently causing a global pandemic on a scale never seen before.

The One Health Approach policy introduces six implementational lines of action, which include: conducting analysis and mapping of the interactions between actors in the different fields in a national context; establishing multisectoral and multidisciplinary "One Health" coordination mechanisms; leveraging existing multidisciplinary and intersectoral mechanisms or frameworks such as International Health Regulations (IHR),  International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN), and Codex Alimentarius among others; promoting the implementation of multi-sectoral technical activities; embracing digital health solutions and emerging technologies; and promoting research and capacity building in the different sectors of the human-animal-environment interface to manage health-emerging threats.

See the working document at the following link: CD59/9 - One Health: A Comprehensive Approach for Addressing Health Threats at the Human-Animal-Environment Interface

About the Council
The Directing Council is one of PAHO's governing bodies that brings together the highest health authorities of the Americas to discuss and analyze policies and set priorities for technical cooperation and collaboration among countries.