One Health: the health system super team

Who doesn’t love a good superhero movie?

The classic tale  of the villain on the verge of implementing a doomsday plot until a hero triumphs dramatically and the day is saved.

You may have noticed recently our heroes and heroines, aren’t as powerful as they once were. They just can’t seem to be handle things all on their own. The threats are too complicated and the villains too nefarious …the day is now saved by “Super-teams”.

This collective approach is one of the key principles of One Health. Addressing threats like climate change, environmental degradation, Anti-microbial resistance and pandemics requires the collaborative efforts of multiple disciplines working locally, nationally, and globally.

There is no shortage of evidence that highlights the complex and interconnected nature of these challenges. Even more importantly, after COVID-19 we all have personal lived experience of what it means to be affected by a crisis that transcends single sectors, communities and regions. Until the pandemic hit it was difficult for many to understand the ripple effect of common practices on the other side of the world. The general public is now all too aware of the consequences, and have a vested interest in ensuring inappropriate practices in range of sectors is reviewed.

Unlike a Hollywood plot where disparate characters band together for the inevitable happy ending. In real life, effective multi-sectoral coordination is difficult to accomplish and even harder to sustain. Delivering an abstract concept like “One Health” into real world practice requires a blend of strategic vision, astute leadership, practical knowledge and excellent communication. Even then, considering the complex challenges we need to address and the limitations we work within, it will be a path littered with mixed results.

This is an approach that requires courage from individuals and organizations. The courage to think differently, act differently and to learn from those actions.  Maybe then it can be something that’s a little bit heroic.

Max Barot Vibhani, a Research Fellow at the Nossal Institute , has passion for working with farmers and the wider community to better utilize limited resources. Max is part of the team working on One Health projects .

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Max Barot Vibhani