3. Veterinary public health (VPH) and One Health approach strengthened
There is increasing awareness and concerns among the general public and consumers over food safety and zoonotic threats, hence the growing demand for stronger veterinary public health services that effectively contribute to the protection of human health. In order to ensure safety of food of animal origin and safeguard public health, AU-IBAR will support MSs in strengthening VPH capacities in the areas of food inspection, prevention and control of zoonotic diseases, early detection of toxins and anti-microbial residues, rapid alert and response, and management of other public health threats. This will be achieved through:
- Strengthening surveillance, prevention and control of zoonotic diseases and emerging pathogens with pandemic potential.
- Monitoring anti-microbial and other drug and pesticide residues. Bio-security and animal production good practices and safety standards will be promoted to minimize risk of transmission of pathogens to humans.
- Promoting and supporting the establishment of collaborative coordination mechanisms at the national, regional and continental levels between animal and public health sectors for efficient, timely response and effective management of zoonoses.
- Fostering inter-sectoral collaboration and promoting the One Health approach as an important tool to ensure effectiveness of VPH interventions.
- Promoting and coordinating review and reform of health policies and legislation for adoption of the One Health approach.
- Fostering formal cooperation between Ministries of Health and Animal Resources and joint development of strategies to adequately address zoonotic and food safety threats.
- Strengthening core functions of veterinary public health, including integrated food safety monitoring and residues control in animal-source foods (ASFs).
- Identifying and prioritizing zoonoses and food safety threats at MS and REC levels. Primary focus could be on Rabies, Tuberculosis, HPAI and emerging zoonotic threats of major importance.
- Facilitating and coordinating the development and implementation of programmes and projects for the prevention and mitigation of selected zoonotic diseases, food safety challenges, and epidemiological surveillance of food-borne diseases.
- Promoting One Health initiatives in Africa, spearheading networking and consensus building among stakeholders for effective inter-sectoral collaboration.