This post is guest written by our dedicated One Health volunteers, Teja Sirec and Tomasz Benedyk.
At its core, One Health encourages interdisciplinary collaboration, education and problem-solving from the human, animal and environmental health communities. Much of the achievements from the One Health approach are highlighted by the One Health Commission and One Health Platform.
In this post, we take you into the future and envision how a collaborative and interdisciplinary One Health approach could help solve emerging global problems. Join us as we show you what a future One Health world would look like:
A healthy society means a healthy individual
Economical and infrastructural differences no longer mark margins between countries and regions. Thanks to global sustainable development and international support, every part of our globe serves its community with decent living conditions, providing easy access to drinking water, efficient sewage systems and nutritious food. Thanks to the worldwide efforts in lifting the life quality of the poorest, a One Health world could achieve minimal global standards for ensuring a sufficient level of hygiene and nourishment among the entire human population.
People have become fully aware of the risk and negative effects on their health when abusing the environment. Green, renewable energy sources could now be a global norm, and all countries may have committed to counteract climate change. A One Health world could ensure the drastic decrease of air pollution, especially in big cities, thanks to better organized and ecological public transport systems and infrastructure. Deforestation and excessive intensive agriculture could be a thing of the past – a One Health world would ensure that the health of our planet is a priority before any financial benefits.
Switching from “sickcare” to “healthcare”
Advanced technology, better understanding of human genetics and markers of disease could give way to a tremendous amount of bioinformatics data that could be further utilized for the development of so-called personalized medicine. Healthcare systems are no longer focused only on treating sick patients. The introduction of quick, sensitive, accurate and non-invasive diagnostic tools from the One Health approach could allow healthcare workers to put a large emphasis on disease prevention by using widely available point-of-care tests for a variety of diseases and infections. Rapid and early diagnosis could not only significantly increase the chances for patients to fully recover, but could also drastically reduce the costs of hospitalization.
One Health could establish a global network of researchers, which could identify possible collaborators based on anticipated mutual interests. It could bring together specialists from different disciplines, such as medicine, life sciences, mathematics, physics, chemistry, social sciences and so on. Moreover, in a One Health world, universities could train skilled specialists in transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary PhD programmes. These graduates would have a good understanding of the technical and social elements of complex global issues.
A One Health world could result in a society that is well informed about local and global issues. People would better understand that the abuse of antimicrobials in medicine and agriculture would affect current therapy options. New drugs have been developed for treatment of infections and the evolution of drug-resistant strains has dramatically slowed down thanks to the limited use of these chemicals.
In a One Health world, global agreements on the use of antibiotics, exploitation of natural resources and excessive agriculture could be established. Herein, immediate profits are balanced with long-term negative effects on the well-being of humans, animals and the environment.
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If you are interested in learning more about One Health, get involved in our One Health campaign and explore a collection of articles from leading experts in the field in the One Health Thematic Issue from FEMS Microbiology Ecology and Pathogens and Disease.