One Health in Action report

Posted on November 01, 2019 by Megan Knowles-Bacon

Through the work of the UK One Health Co-ordination group we get to hear about a wide range of interesting and exciting One Health projects which really make a difference in the UK. The veterinary profession has a long history of recognising and encouraging the concept of One Health, however, our recent Voice survey results suggested that we could benefit from more awareness of the breadth of the concept.

So, ahead of International One Health Day on Sunday 3 November, we’ve launched our new report on ‘One Health in Action’ to showcase some of the exciting projects making an impact in the UK. So, what’s it all about?

What is One Health?

One Health circleIn short, One Health is a concept which recognises that the health and wellbeing of people, animals, and the environment are inextricably linked. Or, to put it another way;

“One Health is a collaborative, multisectoral, and trans-disciplinary approach - working at local, regional, national, and global levels - to achieve optimal health and well-being outcomes recognizing the interconnections between people, animals, plants and their shared environment.”– The One Health Commission

What’s the purpose of the report?

One Health is a topic that many people will admit they do not fully understand. Our Voice survey results showed that only 11% of vets understood that it linked humans, animals, and the environment. 

It is a concept that can be seen as vague and distant, something which is difficult to incorporate into everyday life. However, for the One Health approach to be successful it requires engagement at all levels of society, meaning we first need to make sure that everyone understands what is involved.

Our report aims to explain the concept more clearly and showcase real-world examples of One Health in action, in a variety of situations. It also highlights some practical ways in which everyone can help, as from individual conversations to large-scale projects, no One Health action is too small to make a difference.

What’s in the report?

To help show the breadth of topics One Health covers, the report is split into 6 main themes:

  • Mental health and wellbeing
  • Antimicrobial resistance (AMR)
  • Zoonoses
  • Non-communicable diseases
  • Environment and climate change
  • Injuries

Each section has an introduction to explain why the topic is a One Health issue, using graphics to highlight the many connections between humans, animals, and the environment. These are followed by three case studies on related projects which are making a difference in the UK, each from a different organisation leading the way in that field. 

Case studies have been provided by representatives from many fantastic organisations, including: Animal Plant and Health Agency, British Dental Association, British Veterinary Nursing Association, CPRE the countryside charity, Davies Veterinary Specialists, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, National Trust, NHS Sustainable Development Unit, PDSA, Royal College of Nursing, Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, RSPCA, The Links Group, The Wildlife Trusts, University of Bristol, Veterinary Public Health Association. We are grateful to all of them for supporting this project.

We also pose questions to get you thinking about how a One Health approach could make a difference to you, and how you could incorporate the approach into your work.

What next?

We hope that this report will inspire more joined-up thinking and collaboration across the professions, for the benefit of all.

Creating this report has helped us to further our understanding of the interplay between human health, the environment, and issues which affect animal health and welfare, as well as to form closer ties with many of our contributors, who we look forward to working more closely with in the future.
 

Download the full One Health in Action report (PDF 3.5MB)

We’d love to hear about more examples of One Health in Action, so please get in touch with details about projects you are involved in, or any that you think will inspire others. Email policy@bva.co.uk or tag @BritishVets in your #OneHealthInAction social media posts. 

Megan Knowles-Bacon

Written by Megan Knowles-Bacon

BVA Policy Officer

Megan provides the secretariat to the UK One Health Co-ordination group, BVA Welsh Branch, and the BVA Good Workplace Working Group. She also works with BVA members to develop evidence-based policy on animal welfare, One Health, and veterinary workplace issues.