Blog post from HALI and PREDICT Director Jonna Mazet for the 2010 CUGH Annual Meeting

Dr. Jonna Mazet, Director of the HALI and PREDICT projects

In late September 2010, HALI and PREDICT Director Jonna Mazet was asked to draft a short article for the Consortium of Universities for Global Public Health (CUGH) 201o Annual Meeting blog.  The article, outlining the One Health approach to preventing pathogens from posing threats to humans,  is reproduced here.  To view and download slides from Dr. Mazet’s presentation at the CUGH Annual Meeting, please visit the CUGH 2010 Annual Meeting Presentation page, and scroll to “Tuesday” and the theme: “”One Health: Detection and Control of Emerging and Endemic Zoonotic Pathogens.”

CUGH 2010 Annual Meeting Article

Many of the epidemics affecting global health stem from pathogens in the animal kingdom. To prevent these pathogens from posing health threats to humans, we are taking a One Health approach.  Through this approach, we study the connections and interrelationships between the environment, humans and the animal kingdom. Under One Health, physicians, veterinarians, and other scientific-health and environmentally related disciplines have united to share resources and address global health problems together. We feel that by working under One Health, global health and global security can be served through a more comprehensive model.

The One Health approach plays a strong role in one of my current projects: the PREDICT project, part of the USAID Emerging Pandemic Threats (EPT) program.  PREDICT is building a global early warning system for emerging diseases that move between wildlife and people. Through PREDICT, we are working to discover pathogens within wildlife and domestic animal populations before they emerge as health threats to the human population and possibly become the next SARS, HIV or influenza epidemic. Currently PREDICT is active in 24 countries throughout Southeast Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America. We have already found several pathogens of concern to wildlife, and have also identified pathogens that have transferred from humans to animals. A major objective of PREDICT is to create a strategy that leads to the establishment of a global disease surveillance program. Through the other projects in EPT, and with the collaboration of a wide array of NGOs, community groups, and government agencies, we will then work to prevent and respond to potential disease threats and improve global health.

To understand PREDICT and the One Health approach, we encourage you to read about one of the project’s foundational components: the Health for Animals and Livelihood Improvement (HALI) project in Tanzania. HALI is a collaborative effort developed by researchers in the US and Tanzania, that is working towards improving livelihoods of both the human and animal communities in the Ruaha Ecosytem of Tanzania.  Through disease surveillance, water and resource management, socio-economic research, and capacity building, HALI is proving that One Health can be an effective model for both science and community development.

In joining the CUGH 2010 conference, we wish to demonstrate our approach to public health through illustrations of the ways wildlife, humans, and the environment connect. We hope that other experts will further embrace this One Health approach and join our efforts in working towards a healthier world.

Download slides from Dr. Mazet’s presentation at the 2010 Annual Meeting on the CUGH website here.

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