United action needed to combat global disease transmission

Human and animal health bodies and the security sector must work together to strengthen global health systems in the face of potential disease transmission, according to the published recommendations of a recent international conference staged by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

The 3-day conference, held in Paris in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO), focused on “enhancing collaboration and building a consensus for action to strengthen the ability of public and animal health systems to prevent, detect and respond to all biological threats, whether they are deliberate, accidental or natural”.

“Under-investment in health systems, war or civil unrest, climate change, natural disasters, terrorism and crime were all identified as potential global health threats because they threaten the ability of animal and public health systems to provide the very basic needs,” said OIE in a statement issued alongside the published recommendations.

“Countries with weak health systems are particularly vulnerable and, in an age when infectious diseases can travel across borders so quickly, this is a threat to the whole international community.”

The “main players” at the conference agreed that the health and security sectors need to improve cooperation and to speak with one voice on the urgent need to invest in strengthening health systems.

“Internationally adopted standards are the basis for global infectious disease prevention and control, including early detection and rapid response to biological events, and for strong animal health and human health systems,” said OIE.

Access full conference recommendations

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