The One Health concept recognises that the health of humans, the health of animals, and the environment are strongly interconnected. For example, quite often diseases are passed by animals on to humans. These diseases are known as ‘zoonotic diseases’. Such diseases can be caused by viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi. Zoonotic diseases are very common all around the world, also in Afghanistan.
During the past years, One Health has become an increasingly important element of DCA’s livestock programs. In Afghanistan, for instance Rabies, Brucellosis and CCHF (Crimea-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever) are regularly occurring zoonotic diseases. To prevent and control these diseases DCA is coordinating with public health officers in joint campaigns aimed at awareness raising and reducing the infection risk of animals and humans.
In order to incorporate the Human Health concept in DCA’s regular extension activities, in 2013 a new extension package was created, the ‘Veterinary Public Health Package’ (VPH). This VPH package focuses on awareness of zoonotic diseases, proper disease prevention, hygiene in handling animals, and safety in food preparation. It was developed in close participation with several ministries, Kabul University, provincial public health and veterinary officers, as well as with the target population. Target beneficiaries include livestock farmers, traders of livestock products, and slaughters and butchers.
In many countries, special One Health Hubs have been established bringing together the Regional One Health Networks. In the One Health Hubs, doctors, epidemiologists, veterinarians, and ecologists are working together to improve human and animal health and enhance biosecurity. DCA is partner of the One Health Hub Afghanistan and in 2012/13 participated in a study to estimate the prevalence of Brucellosis, Q fever and CCHF in the human and livestock population of Herat.