Afghanistan National One Health Symposium

The first of its kind in Afghanistan, the National One Health Symposium was held on the 26th and 27th November, 2013 at the General Directorate of Animal Health, Kabul. Participants included members of central, provincial and local government, NGOs, donor funded projects and donors.

Information sharing was the focus of the first day. Presentations showcased the results of the CIP and One Health work being carried out by the Dutch Committee for Afghanistan (DCA), Relief International and Wildlife Conservation Society, plus the coordination work of central and provincial government through the Zoonotic Control Committees (ZCCs). Recommendations were put forward by participants regarding ways to strengthen the ‘One Health’ skills and systems within Afghanistan and the wider region. The final half day focused on reviewing the recommendations and providing concrete actions which could follow on from the CIP findings and strengthen the Afghan One Health Hub.

The workshop program had 4 key sessions:

  • Session 1: Introduction to the workshop and Regional Training Programme.
  • Session 2: Overview of the CIP and findings to date.
  • Session 3: Information from governmental and non-governmental organisations working on One Health in Afghanistan.
  • Session 4: Overview of the Afghan One Health Hub.
  • Session 5: Agreement upon recommendations and next steps.

General recommendations for developing the One Health sector in Afghanistan 

The Afghanistan National Symposium resulted in significant recommendations for developing and enhancing a One Health approach. Key recommendations include:

  • The isolation of Br. Abortus and Br. Mellitensis in humans
  • The survey of cattle for Br. Abortus and the development of an elimination strategy for Br. Mellitensis in sheep and goats.
  • The establishment of a national serum bank for humans for the symptomatic surveillance of febrile illness.
  • The development of a separate project and resources for the control and response strategy of brucellosis outbreaks in Bamyan and Daikundi provinces.
  • The establishment of a multi-sectoral One Health Unit at MAIL and MoPH for the control of zoonoses in Afghanistan.

Recommendations for Strengthening the Afghan One Health Hub

The following resolutions were put forward to strengthen the One Health Hub:

  • Improve coordination.
    • Ensure OH activities are integrated into the system.
    • Identification of other stakeholders to widen the One Health network.
    • Hiring focal points in Surveillance and Response Depts.
  • Gain support from policy makers.
    • Driving force to call the parties.
    • Advocacy at leadership level.
    • Resource allocation and capacity building for Behaviour Change Communication.
    • National authorities to support CIP response activities.
  • Strengthening the provincial and national ZDCs.
    • Commitment of participation and expansion of provincial and national ZDCs.
    • Follow-up of ZDC at both national and provincial levels:
      • Identification of Regional Coordinators.
      • Increasing capacity.
  • Development and implementation of activities.
    • Develop a strategy for One Health road map to implement which will then include:
      • Orientation and capacity building for both Animal Health and Public Health sectors (e.g. joint lab training for CPHL and CVDRL).
      • Insurance for health workers.
      • Private sector involvement.
    • A joint research project should be conducted to give a joint sense of ownership.

Conclusion

The Afghanistan National One Health Symposium was a success. The recommendations that have arisen from the Symposium were shared by the Project Coordinators, Drs. Zabiullah Shahab and Abul 
Hussain at the Regional One Health Symposium in Bhutan. In addition, the recommendations for strengthening the One Health Hub are a discussion topic at the next National ZCC.