Blog Post

September 16, 2022

From Policy to Product: enabling One Health through technology

A One Health approach to health security is needed more than ever. In this blog, we explore the definition of One Health, why it is an invaluable concept for today’s interconnected world, and the practical challenges to implementing a ‘One Health’ approach. We also propose 4 initial steps for national governments to take to counter the global threats we all face.

COVID-19 took the world by surprise. A report from the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) highlighted the unnerving lack of global coordination between the human, animal and environmental health sectors in responding to the virus. 

While the origins of COVID-19 remain debated, it is widely believed to have originated in bats before spreading to humans. The transmission of this disease from animal to human, and its rapid spread across international borders, demonstrate that issues of health security are often not isolated to humans or animals or ecosystems, or within national borders.

Increasingly problems of health security are “problems without passports” that pay no attention to borders between countries, or dividing lines between government departments or academic disciplines. Today, particularly in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments are recognising that tackling the health of people, animals, and the environment separately does not account for the significant impacts each has on the other. 

The next pandemic will likely be caused by a disease that crosses from animals to humans. As the human population continues to increase, more people live in close proximity to animals as they move into new areas. Climate change and increased land use are continuing to change environmental conditions, creating new opportunities for disease to be transmitted. Meanwhile, the resumption and acceleration of global trade and travel means that diseases will continue to spread more quickly. A One Health approach will be vital for responding early and effectively to this threat.

A review on AMR predicted that up to 10 million deaths a year could be caused by resistant pathogens around the world by 2050 if insufficient action is taken. Meanwhile, a UN report found that 60% of diseases that currently infect humans originated in animals and 75% of emerging diseases first infected animals.


No items found.
No items found.

Explore more insights

Stay in the loop!

Sign up to our monthly newsletter to get a snapshot of PUBLIC’s impact across the public sector, thought-leadership from our experts, and opportunities to get involved!