Uganda Celebrates One Health Day

Celebrations to mark the annual World One Health Day 2020 was held at Imperial Royale hotel on 3rd Tuesday, 2020. One Health is an interdisciplinary strategy that addresses health issues from an integrated perspective that includes Humans, Wildlife and Environment.

The Chief Guest Ag. Permanent Secretary Dr. Florence Adong Ministry of Water and Environment in her remarks appreciated the support from Development Partners who have made the implementation of the One Health Strategy possible. She underscored the importance of this year’s celebration as one that draws attention of the global community of the need to have One Health approach to address shared health threats.

She observed that the year’s theme “Strengthening National One Health Practice, A Call for Advocacy and Action” was timely. She noted that the globe needed to recognize that the health of people is closely connected to the health of animals and their shared environment Therefore, One Health was not limited to public or animals but also the environment. Present to grace the celebration were Dr. Monica Musenero, Presidential Advisor on Epidemics, Chair One Health Collins Oloya, ED- UWA Sam Mwandha and Director Animal resources MAAIF Dr. Juliet Sentubwe.

The celebrations brought together the responsible government agencies, One Health practitioners, development partners, One health advocates, researchers, academia, local and international organizations. These shared best practices, explored contributions of One Health towards achievement of Sustainable Development Goals and reviewed mainstreaming of One Health in national and sub- national operations in a series of presentations and discussion by various speakers.

In his address, the Executive Director Uganda Wildlife Authority Mr. Sam Mwandha decried environmental degradation that has orchestrated the destruction of forests, wetlands, wildlife poaching and irresponsible garbage disposal especially “kaveras and other plastics” undermining soil fertility and productivity.

He noted that communication, coordination and collaboration among partners working in wildlife, livestock, human and environmental health as well as other relevant partners are an essential part of the One Health approach. “Working together allows us to have the biggest impact on improving health for both people and animals living in a shared environment,” he said.

Dr. Monica Musenero, the Presidential Advisor on Epidemics in her remarks noted that the development of the National One Health Policy is yet another milestone in streamlining the One Health approach in government.  She noted that COVID-19 pandemic was an example One Health approach that recognizes the close connection between the health of people, animals and the environment and the role this connection plays in the emergence of new diseases. “Fighting disease threats like COVID-19 requires One Health collaboration because no one person, organization, or sector alone can effectively address the pandemic,” she said.

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