The World Bank’s twin goals of eradicating poverty and boosting shared prosperity are dependent, in part, on public health systems that are prepared to face existing and future disease threats, including those at the human-animal-environment interface. These disease threats that impact public health and economies, and thus the World Bank’s goals, include zoonotic diseases that are shared between animals and humans, vector-borne diseases, food and water safety and security, and antimicrobial resistance. The One Health approach, a worldwide strategy that seeks to forge collaboration between different branches of health and environmental disciplines such as human medicine, veterinary medicine, agricultural science, and environmental science, among others, is one component to realizing the World Bank’s poverty and prosperity-related goals.
Doctoral student Catherine Machalaba has co-authored an Operational Framework, a World Bank report providing an orientation to the One Health strategy, to assist users in understanding and implementing the strategy, from rationale to concrete guidance for its application.
“The term ‘One Health’ recognizes the critical connections between the health of humans, animals, and the environment that we depend on,” explain Machalaba.
The Operational Framework explores the World Bank’s alignment with One Health topics, such as how it can be useful in addressing a broad range of priorities for human and animal health and environment sectors, effective disease prevention and control, and identifying priority areas for further development to aid in successful One Health operations. The Operational Framework, noting challenges in monitoring progress across sectors, identifies indicators from relevant World Bank projects that can assist in this effort.
The Operational Framework is intended as a guide for One Health operations, from project and program scoping and identification stages to design and implementation, including monitoring and evaluation, to help optimize investments. It includes a review of existing efforts by different technical, policy-making, and development agencies and lessons learned to date.
Machalaba explains, “Urgent issues with high consequence to health and economies – such as pandemic threats, antimicrobial resistance, vector-borne diseases, food and nutrition insecurity, climate change, and ecosystem degradation – can all benefit from the multi-sectoral approaches that One Health promotes.”