One Health Toolkit

One Health is a collaborative, multisectoral approach that recognizes the interconnection between people, animals, plants, and their shared environment with the objective of achieving optimal health outcomes. This toolkit is part of the Building Community Resilience through Emergency Communications and Preparedness project in the islands of Barbados and Dominica. The project is supported by the Clara Lionel Foundation. The Eastern Caribbean islands of Barbados and Dominica are facing increasingly devastating impacts from disasters, including hurricanes, flooding, and volcanic ash from neighboring islands. These disasters are fueled by changing weather patterns, as well as infectious diseases that emerge in other parts of the world. This interactive and multimedia One Health toolkit is meant for information providers who are on the frontline when responding to disasters and emergencies. They include public officials, journalists, civil society, and academic institutions.

The goal of this resource is to mainstream One Health into everyday conversations to build resilience and better prepare for future disasters and emergencies. Though conceived for a regional audience, this toolkit is also relevant for a global audience as it brings into focus a local reality, while connecting the dots across sectors and with the larger picture. The toolkit chapters are released sequentially, from October 2023 until March 2024. Please, help us share this resource so that it can be used by as many people as possible.

Chapter 1 The Concept of One Health: Unity is Strength!

In this first chapter, we introduce the concept of One Health and the idea that together we are stronger when tackling big picture challenges or grappling with emergencies and disasters. The One Health approach mobilizes multiple sectors, disciplines and communities at various levels of society to work together to foster well-being and tackle threats to health and ecosystems, while addressing the collective need for clean water, energy and air, safe and nutritious food, taking action on climate change, and contributing to sustainable development.

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Chapter 2 Human Health: Factors that Impact our Wellbeing

In this second chapter, we explore how human health is impacted by everything around us, including “zoonotic diseases,” diseases that can jump from animals to humans. It is worth noting that between 70 and 80 percent of emerging infectious diseases are known to be of zoonotic origin. Epidemics and pandemics often result from the emergence or reemergence of a zoonotic disease at the community level. An epidemic has the potential to become a pandemic when there is amplification and spread of the virus across borders. There is ample evidence that humans are driving environmental changes that increase the risks of zoonotic diseases emerging and spreading. In this chapter, Dr. Dennis Carroll, Senior Advisor for global health security with URC and former Director of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Emerging Threats Division, shares six lessons learned from previous pandemics. He explains how virus surveillance is done, and will help us think about what is necessary to better manage future zoonosis with a One Health approach. Other experts in animal health and human health contribute their know-how to this discussion.

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In this chapter we explore how communities can better prepare to mitigate climate impact. We cover topics such as building resilient health systems capable of responding to public health crises caused by disasters, epidemic and pandemics. We also cover water and sanitation, which is often compromised when a disaster happens and can compound the emergency because of bacteria contamination from animal and human waste. One of the many consequences of changing weather patterns is a rise in vector-borne diseases, such as chikungunya, Zika virus, yellow fever, and West Nile fever. We are also seeing a rise in malaria carrying mosquitoes in areas where malaria had previously been eradicated. This chapter explores some innovative ways to contain the spread and protect human populations. Examples of adaptation projects from Barbados and Dominica will serve as a reminder that building resilience is possible if we plan ahead.

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In this chapter we explore how ocean and marine health impact human health and all life on planet Earth. Plastics, disease pathogens, over-fishing, and climate change are major threats to marine animal health. Pathogens that have the potential to impact marine wildlife, also have the potential to impact humans and our food supply. Although the oceans and their ecosystems cover most of the planet, playing a pivotal role in the health and welfare of humans and animals, relatively little research has been published on One Health within aquatic ecosystems. Alex Muñoz Wilson, Senior Director for Latin America Pristine Seas Initiative of the National Geographic Society shares why we need more marine reserves and how we can create them, and mitigate the impact of climate change. Ocean health is particularly relevant for Caribbean islands and its residents, whose livelihoods often depend on it.

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Chapter 5 Animal Health: The Embrace of the Species

Speakers from the World Organization for Animal Health share their approach to One Health, alongside a scientist who has been following the Avian Influenza outbreak and is studying ways to contain it. This last event focuses on why keeping animals healthy is a win-win for all species, including us humans! All of us are familiar with the COVID-19 pandemic and the suffering caused by the HIV pandemic, which still is present worldwide, but do you know what “panzootic” means? That term refers to a pandemic in animals. It literally means “all” and “animals,” and has been used occasionally to describe extensive multi-species infections by a single pathogen. At present, two distinct panzootics are underway. A highly pathogenic influenza strain, H5N1, which is affecting and decimating populations of domestic and wild birds, as well as sea mammals across the globe (seals, sea lions, cetaceans, otters, foxes, bobcats, mountain lions, skunks and minks). Learn more by listening to this recording!

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Chapter 6 Tracking Disinformation in the One Health Space

In the aftermath of a disaster, from earthquakes to hurricanes, survival depends on getting reliable answers to the most important questions. When communities don’t have trustworthy sources of information available, rumors and misinformation spread rapidly, not only adding to the stress and anxiety of affected people, but also potentially putting their lives at risk. According to the Oxford dictionary a rumor is “a circulating story or report of uncertain or doubtful truth.” Trust in the information that people receive and trust in the sources that create and disseminate news and information. Understanding how to foster, nurture and enhance trust between consumers and providers of information is essential for successfully mainstreaming the One Health approach. This chapter highlights how Internews’ Rumor Tracking methodology was applied to this project, and a few insights that resulted from it. It also contains resources for information providers to identify and counter rumors!

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