Institutionalizing a One Health Approach in Bangladesh: A New Imperative for Health and Well-being is the theme of the upcoming One Health Dhaka Conference being held from 21-23 November 2013 at the Spectra Convention Centre. This significant conference is the 4th of its kind in Dhaka and 7th in Bangladesh since 2008.
Drivers for One Health
The One Health concept gained acceptance amongst health professionals in Bangladesh in 2007 as the country was witnessing the painful incursion of new pathogens such as avian influenza HPAI and Nipah virus. At the same time there was country-wide concern over baby food adulteration with melamine and a huge media response to the consequences of indiscriminate pesticide use on the health of a rural farming community.
Health professionals, scientists, practitioners, development workers and activists associated with health and well-being intuitively began to recognize that the health of humans, animals and ecosystems are interconnected.
One Health gains momentum
Between 2008 and 2011, meetings, workshops and conferences on One Health were held, joint outbreak investigations, various training programs were undertaken and networking was initiated which finally culminated in the development of a Strategic Framework and Action Plan for a One Health approach in Bangladesh in 2012.
Application of a coordinated, collaborative, multi-disciplinary and cross-sectoral approach is now considered essential among One Health proponents working within government agencies, research institutes, academics, civil societies and NGOs.
The One Health initiative is supported by the Government of Bangladesh and several United Nations agencies including FAO, WHO and UNICEF, and relevant government ministries have officially endorsed this document.
Fourth One Health Dhaka Conference
The growing momentum of the One Health development in Bangladesh underscores the need for institutionalizing a One Health approach for its continuity and sustainability. This is the overarching purpose of the Fourth One Health Dhaka Conference, which aims to:
- Understand the dynamics of diseases at the human-animal-environmental interface;
- Review the progress in implementing a One Health approach to zoonotic disease control in Bangladesh;
- Link the One Health approach to improved food safety, food security and nutrition in Bangladesh;
- Disseminate outcomes of the One Health capacity building Program of Massey University during 2010–2013, including the establishment of Hubnet for communication within Bangladesh and South Asia.
- Identify future programs and activities to implement the One Health Action Plan.
The conference will be attended by physicians, veterinarians, agriculturists, wildlife and environmental experts and activists, scientists, academics, and policy makers from home and abroad.