21st National Environmental Health Conference 
ONE HEALTH – An Environmental Health Initiative

The Theme “One Health – An Environmental Health Initiative”, aims to demonstrate an integrative effort of multiple disciplines working locally, nationally and globally to attain optimal health for people, animals and the environment. As the human health concepts has brought together experts in the areas of animal and human health, it has provided a new synthesis for public health and veterinarians, medical doctors and public health professionals. However, the Environmental Health profession has a major role to play in One Health activities based on national and global experiences.

Environmental Health Practitioners play an important role in disease surveillance, prevention and control. Therefore, Environmental Health professionals should be involved as key stakeholders in local, national and global One Health initiatives.

A One Health approach considers the role of changing environments with regards to infectious and chronic disease risks affecting humans and animals. This approach illustrates the interconnectedness and interdependence of humans, animals and the environment.

Environmental Health Practitioners play a critical role in the health of humans and animals, and even the environment, but these roles are often overlooked or unrecognized. Nonetheless, Environmental Health is the only profession that operates in the interface of preventative health, of all the three components of One Health e.g. Disease outbreak investigation, meat safety, control of vectors and vermin, health education, food safety and hygiene, control of environmental pollution, water, sanitation and hygiene and enforcement of legislation. Advancing technologies and science- based evidence is increasing the awareness, knowledge and understanding of the interdependency of the health of humans, animals and the environment.

It is estimated that at least 75% of emerging and re-emerging diseases are either zoonotic (spread between humans and animals) or vector- borne (carried from infected animals to others through insects. This Conference will go a long way to highlight the important role that Environmental Health Practitioners play together with their Veterinary Public Health Officers jointly in One Health Initiative.