‘One Health’ policy to help Guyana spot diseases jumping from other animals to humans

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A new ‘One Health’ policy, being developed by the Ministry of Health and the Pan- American Health Organization (PAHO), is expected to help Guyanese authorities address veterinary medicine in conjunction with human medicine.

The approach will help to determine whether there are diseases that are jumping from animals to the human population and if that is happening to be able to have systems in place for early detection, Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony said.

Dr. Anthony was at the time addressing the National Health Surveillance Symposium on Tuesday at the Pegasus Corporate Suites, Kingston, Georgetown.

According to Dr. Anthony, a lot of the diseases that have emerged over the last 20 to 30 years are linked to the animal population.

Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony

“Because the human population have never encountered some of these diseases before, we are vulnerable, we have no immunity.

“We’ll see that some of these things would spread and if we don’t have early warning systems,” he noted.

He explained that if systems are not in place to detect emerging infections then diseases can spread very quickly and infect large numbers of people, even killing a lot of people in some instances.

“So that’s why it is also important for us to invest in early warning systems and understanding emerging infections,” Dr. Anthony said.

The PAHO/WHO “One Health” approach policy seeks to promote the coordination and collaboration of the human, animal, plant, and environmental health programmes.

This coordination will improve the prevention and preparedness for future health threats arising from the interconnection between humans, animals, and the environment, according to PAHO/WHO.

Those threats include antimicrobial resistance (AMR), zoonotic diseases, and food safety among others.

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