Health

Tanzania, WHO in joint move to control spread of diseases from animals to humans


DAR ES SALAAM, Oct. 17 — Tanzanian and World Health Organization
(WHO) health and wildlife experts on Monday began discussing ways aimed at
controlling diseases that spread from animals to humans, also known as
zoonotic diseases.

The experts, meeting in the east African nation’s commercial capital Dar es
Salaam, will for three days discuss how to bridge gaps in communication,
intervention and implementation of strategies aimed at controlling diseases
like rift valley fever, brucellosis, rabies, plague and anthrax. About 60
percent of the diseases that affect humans have their origin in animals and
are a threat to human life, trade and development, says WHO, adding that
control of these diseases requires the intervention of experts. The meeting
entitled: International Health Regulations-Performance of Veterinary
Services Pathway Bridging Workshop, has also attracted experts on livestock
and agriculture.The discussions will focus on the One-Health concept, a
collaborative effort of multiple disciplines working locally, nationally
and globally, to attain optimal health for people, animals and the
environment.

Janeth Mghamba, Director for Preventive Medicine in the Ministry of Health,
told the experts that joint efforts by stakeholders had come at a time
Tanzania was working on a strategy to boost health security.The government
is now working on how to implement the National Action Plan for Health
Security launched in Dodoma recently, she said, adding: “during this
meeting, we will discuss at length how to utilize this plan to improve
health in the country.” Mghamba said Tanzania led in the implementation
of the International Health Regulations, 2005 as the country strived to
tackle infectious diseases, such as Ebola, which were a threat to national
and global health security. Ritha Njau, Officer-in-Charge of the WHO Office
in Dar es Salaam, said the concept of One-Health was not new, but it was
central to saving Tanzania and other countries from animal to human
diseases “it is now time to explore how to bring these together to identify
commonalities, gaps and define opportunities for improved coordination
under the One Health to realize greater and far-reaching outputs,” Njau
said. – XINHUA