One Health - An Integrative Health Risk Management Perspective

Many emerging health issues are linked to increasing contact between humans and animals, the industrialization of food production, and environmental pollution. Global change has created new threats to the health of both animals and humans. These complex interactions impacting human health require to be dealt with by applying an integrative health risk management approach, which acknowledges the systemic interconnections of human, animal and environmental health. In addition, this approach includes the factors of prevention, intervention and recovery/rehabilitation. Being a global movement at the interface of science, society, policy and practice, One Health is, therefore, also deeply interdisciplinary and cross-sectorial.

Recent Developments in One Health

For many years the “One Health” approach was limited to an interdisciplinary collaboration in human and veterinary medicine with substantial added value in zoonoses control and related health service provision. However One Health has evolved into a broad and holistic paradigm enabling the inclusion of an ecological dimension, and most recently the economic and social dimensions addressing equity, governance, justice, livelihood, and welfare. One Health has thus begun to move beyond the status of a mere concept, to becoming a truly global movement at the interface of science, society, policy and practice. This movement is deeply interdisciplinary and cross-sectorial and provides a fascinating, powerful framework that a variety of professional communities and social groups can adhere to. The One Health paradigm will be key in reversing the worst of current problems at the human-animal-environment and development interface, thus fostering a more sustainable way of life on our planet. Keeping in mind that more than half of the worldwide population is living in urban areas, and that the rural exodus continues to grow; One Health may become a crucial approach to successfully cope with all the drivers and consequences in urbanization dynamics.