IFAH calls for more research and cross-border collaboration at 1st One Health Congress

IFAH calls for more research and cross-border collaboration at 1st One Health Congress

16/03/2011

Melbourne, 14 February 2011 - The International Federation for Animal Health (IFAH) is joining human and animal health as well as wildlife specialists, intergovernmental organizations, regulatory authorities and a host of national and international delegates at the Melbourne Convention Centre this week to participate in the 1st International One Health Congress. Through presentations and panels, IFAH and its members are using the conference to call for increased collaboration and research to develop new technologies. These are vital to meet the animal health industry’s needs to enable it to rise to the challenges of increased animal protein demands brought on by population expansion. This congress is a global collaborative effort to promote the health of humans, animals and the ecosystem, which received significant international support following on from the emergence of avian influenza H5N1, not the least through the first collaborative concept note*. Under the slogan “Human Health, Animal Health, the Environment and Global Survival”, participants at the three day congress will take an interdisciplinary approach to address the challenges brought about by the interactions between animals, humans and the environment, with a primary emphasis on diseases. IFAH Executive Director Barbara Freischem said, “We are happy to be contributing to this important conference, which is a further step in spreading the awareness about the need for a One Health approach, and look forward to sharing knowledge with the delegates there. IFAH fully supports the premise that human and animal health are inextricably linked, and that health issues should be addressed collaboratively from all sides. This congress is an excellent opportunity for experts to identify mutual objectives, share information and ascertain possibilities for collaboration across fields. “Of the nearly 1,500 diseases we know affect people, two thirds can pass between animals and humans. World production from food animals is reduced by more than 20% due to disease according to OIE estimates, so even animal diseases not transmissible to humans may exacerbate public health problems due to food shortages and deficiencies in the supply chain. Research into new technologies and treatments by the animal health industry has been and will remain a vital aspect of preserving global health.” IFAH is represented at several levels at this conference, globally, regionally, nationally as well as on a scientific level. In a review commissioned by IFAH and IFAH-Europe, Prof Peter Silley will present the current knowledge that indicates an absence of clinical consequences to human health arising from certain antimicrobial resistance in animals. He underlines the need for risk analysis, including follow-up assessments as a basis for regulatory decision making. IFAH-Europe Managing Director Declan O’Brien said, “Gatherings of minds such as the 1st International One Health Congress are invaluable opportunities for partners from all sides of healthcare to come together and work towards a common goal. The issues facing global health are significant, but surmountable provided we are able to collaborate, share technologies, work to identify gaps and prioritise diseases that must be tackled, as is being done for instance by the European Technology Platform for Global Animal Health (ETPGAH). “We are highly supportive of cooperation between public and private organisations to address these concerns, and welcome the opportunity to share these insights at this event.” The Animal Health Alliance CEO Dr. Peter Holdsworth said, “Australia has developed a unique approach to addressing the numerous challenges to human and animal health on this continent with its close links to known disease hot spots. National Government, industry representations and the wider industry community have put in place an efficient mechanism to prepare for potential threats to human and animal health.”

Notes for editors

Contributing to One World, One Health: A Strategic Framework for Reducing Risks of Infectious Diseases at the Animal–Human–Ecosystems Interface, published in late 2008 by FAO, OIE, WHO, UN System Influenza Coordination, UNICEF and the World Bank.

IFAH

The International Federation for Animal Health (IFAH) is an organisation representing manufacturers of veterinary medicines, vaccines and other animal health products in both developed and developing countries across five continents. The mission of IFAH is to foster a greater understanding of animal health matters and promote a predictable, science-based regulatory environment that facilitates the supply of innovative and quality animal medicines, vaccines and other animal health products into a competitive market place. These products contribute to a healthy and safe food supply as well as a high standard of health and welfare for animals and people.

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