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‘One Health’ gains traction in battle against zoonoses

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Wildlife meats, snares and chainsaws were seized recently. SUPPLIED

‘One Health’ gains traction in battle against zoonoses

The 'One Health' approach will be important in protecting the health of the public, as part of the fight against the emergence of zoonoses, or infectious diseases that have jumped from non-human animals to humans, according to a health ministry official. The general theme of the approach is to stop trading and consuming wildlife.

Ministry of Health deputy director for Communicable Disease Control Department Yi Sengdoeurn made the remark on March 3 during the launch of the “Zero-Snaring in Cambodia’s Protected Areas” campaign.

“The One Health approach improves health outcomes by understanding and addressing the interactions between people, animals, and our environment. Implementing One Health measures is important for protecting public health from future zoonotic risks.

“We must work together to prevent the purchase, sale, transport and consumption of wildlife species which are of high risk for zoonotic disease transmission,” he said.

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), 'One Health' is an approach to designing and implementing programmes, policies, legislation and research in which multiple sectors communicate and work together to achieve better public health outcomes.

“One Health” is relevant in food safety, the control of zoonoses, and combatting antibiotic resistance – a process in which bacteria change after being exposed to antibiotics and become more difficult to treat.

According to a joint press statement issued by the government and relevant institution and partners on March 3, a total of 61,611 snares were removed in 72 natural protected areas and biodiversity corridors across Cambodia last year, compared to the yearly average of 40,000 in the same areas.

Ministry of Justice director for Research and Training Nob Sothunvisoth stressed that snares and the wildlife trade pose a grave threat to all areas of health – be it environmental, physical or financial.

“The coming together of all of the relevant ministries demonstrates our collective resolve to combat biodiversity loss, and prevent possible future pandemics at the source of the problem,” he said.

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