The Regents of the University of Minnesota

Scaling the One Health Approach for Resilience to Infectious Disease

Lead Organization

The Regents of the University of Minnesota

St. Paul, Minnesota, United States

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Project Summary

Infectious disease (ID) caused nearly 6 million deaths in 2016 and was the largest mortality risk to children under 5. This risk is compounded by the rise in antibiotic resistance and the growing emergence of pandemics like avian influenza and ebola from animal populations. These ID threats are increasingly complex and global guidance emphasizes the importance of collaborating across diverse stakeholders from public, animal, and environmental health in their management: a One Health (OH) approach. Yet, most efforts are highly siloed––by disease, sector, and donor––and countries struggle with implementing guidance from the national level to the front lines. We will scale up proven OH approaches to: 1) identify existing OH needs and gaps across diverse stakeholders from the national to the community level; and 2) establish university-based OH Innovation Labs to collide ideas among stakeholders, rethink the OH problems and test out and evolve innovative solutions to address the gaps.

Problem Statement

Infectious diseases are a growing threat to human health due to rising rates of pandemics from animals into humans, the spread of insect-borne diseases with climate change, and the rapid rise in resistance to antibiotics. These threats are increasingly complex to manage as human, environmental, and animal factors all contribute to risk. Increasingly, international guidance from the Tripartite organizations (World Health Organization (WHO), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Organization for Animal Health (OIE)) and US Government agencies (CDC, USDA) recommend a ‘One Health’ or multi-stakeholder approach to addressing these threats. Many organizations must contribute to effective control of these diseases: government agencies, non-profit organizations, industry, academic institutions across human, animal and environmental health. Yet, at the country-level all these different sectors and actors are siloed and lack the ability or the systems to effectively and collaboratively prevent, detect and manage these complex risks.As a result, countries struggle to implement the guidance even at the national level and, certainly, this expert guidance never manages to be operational at the provincial, district or community level on the front lines of these diseases. Thus, for those communities at highest risk, many different groups may be actively focusing on different diseases and related problems (gender, agriculture, poverty, environmental conservation), yet none coordinate or collaborate to minimize risk and maximize health overall. Critical to address this gap is to support the country to analyze and strengthen multi-stakeholder coordination and collaboration at every level of society to better predict, identify and respond to IDs.

Solution Overview

We will strengthen how agencies and other stakeholders coordinate and collaborate to improve response to ID threats by supporting country-led multi-stakeholder analysis, planning, and innovative multidisciplinary implementation of OH-SMART generated action plans at all levels of society from the national to the local level. Trained local OH-SMART master facilitators will cascade training and facilitate the use of the OH-SMART tool to help country stakeholders agree on how to improve their coordination and collaboration at the national, provincial, district and community level aligned to local needs. Universities will then be empowered as regional OH Innovation Labs to convene local and international stakeholders and donors and foster competitive multidisciplinary innovation teams to find new solutions to implement these agreed-to actions to address community and country-driven needs. This will build on the Indonesia OH-SMART model where UMN master facilitators trained 5 Indonesian stakeholders who then adapted the tool for use in Indonesia. They have since implemented the tool 14 more times on their own initiative, including supporting the development of a National Rabies Plan, as well as supporting 7 provinces to develop OH ID action plans. Follow-up interviews found that several actions were implemented from these plans despite no systematic follow up. INDOHUN has also established One Health Collaboration Centers, sites of innovation and collaboration for high impact programming throughout Indonesia. This combination of multi-stakeholder action planning paired with university-based One Health Innovation Labs will be the core strategy to be scaled up to strengthen OH systems in 6 countries world-wide.

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Project Funders

  • USAID - 2020
  • US Department of State 2015 - 2017
  • USDA Foreign Agriculture Service 2014 - 2016

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