Strengthening the IHR Through a One Health Approach

Many existing threats to human health, including zoonotic diseases, food borne diseases, chemical events, radiological events, and antimicrobial resistance are complex, and cannot be managed by the human health sector alone. WHO takes multisectoral approaches to monitoring and evaluation of country capacities under IHR through the Annual Reporting, Joint External Evaluation, Simulation Exercises, and After Action Review components of the IHR Monitoring and Evaluation Framework. Additionally, multisectoral approaches are critical to the national planning processes.


What is One Health?

There is no one single definition for “One Health” used by everyone worldwide. In general, the term refers to taking a multisectoral, multi-disciplinary approach and ensuring communication, collaboration, and coordination among all relevant ministries, agencies, stakeholders, sectors, and disciplines, for optimal action. 

In the context of the IHR Monitoring and Evaluation Framework, taking a One Health approach means including, from all relevant sectors, the national information, expertise, perspectives, and experience necessary to conduct the assessments, evaluations, reporting and preparedness activities.


Activities: Support for Operationalizing One Health at the Country Level

Collaboration across sectors and disciplines allows countries to effectively plan and prepare for, detect, assess, and respond to health threats; however, many countries have no mechanisms in place for such collaboration. WHO, in collaboration with international partners such as OIE and FAO, produces national-level tools, guidance, and training to support countries in implementation of multisectoral collaborative approaches.


IHR-PVS National Bridging Workshops

The WHO International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005) and OIE Performance of Veterinary Services (PVS) assess and support the human and animal health systems, respectively, but coordination across the two sectors remains challenging in many country settings. The IHR-PVS National Bridging Workshops bring together actors from both sectors and present a structured, guided methodology, allowing participants to collectively identify barriers to synergy and existing gaps in collaboration. Corrective measures are identified to form a road-map to improve the collaboration between the two sectors in the prevention, detection and response to zoonotic disease outbreaks and other health issues at the interface between humans and animals. For more information, please visit the IHR-PVS National Bridging Workshop page.


Taking a Multisectoral, One Health Approach: A Tripartite Guide to Addressing Zoonotic Diseases in Countries

This is a joint publication between WHO/WPRO, WHO/SEARO, FAO and OIE. The purpose of the guide is to assist countries and areas in achieving sustainable and functional collaboration between animal and human health sectors, which is crucial to addressing the challenges posed by endemic, emerging and re-emerging zoonoses.

The guide is being updated and expanded, countries experienced added, and Operational Tools included for each of the seven topic areas. This updated guide will be available for piloting at the end of 2018. 

An interim version of the first Tripartite Operational Tool, for conducting national joint qualitative risk assessments, is currently available to countries wishing to conduct pilots. This Operational Tool is for use by the relevant sectors in countries wishing to conduct a qualitative joint risk assessment for a national priority zoonoses, ongoing zoonotic disease event, or other health threat at the human-animal-environment interface. The final Operational Tool will be available in all six UN languages in 2020. The summary is available here.