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Five things we did for animal health in 2022

In 2022, pandemic prevention and the risks of zoonotic disease spread remained high on the agenda for many. The One Health concept has gone from strength to strength in political arenas. But the concept cannot become reality without building strong animal health systems.

1. We campaigned for pandemic prevention 

Throughout the year, governments from around the world came together to create new international legislation for countries to be resilient to future pandemics. We campaigned for this instrument to oblige governments to upskill their animal health workforce to stop zoonotic diseases in their tracks.  

We showed decision-makers why critical shortages in the skills and numbers of animal health practitioners risks our health, and why they should be treated as part of the global health workforce.  

2. We highlighted Avian Influenza as a global concern

Avian Influenza continues to rise and has resulted in the culling of millions of birds. At the start of 2022, Dr Klara Saville (Brooke) and Professor Delia Randolph (ILRI) discussed why we need strong animal health systems to slow the spread in birds and prevent another deadly pandemic.    

Whilst the disease is highly infectious in animals, its spread amongst humans is limited. Right now it is having a major impact on people’s livelihoods and farms, and animals themselves. But the disease could be just a handful of mutations away from becoming a serious risk to people. 

3. We brought experts together 

In June, an all-women panel came together to debate why animal health and One Health are vital to a new pandemic instrument. Our expert panellists argued for the new instrument to include measures to prevent diseases spilling over from animals to people.  

They included experts from Action for Animal Health, the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH), Conservation through Public Health, Preventing Pandemics at the Source, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO). We heard why community engagement is vital in early disease reporting, and why protecting forests is essential for pandemic prevention.  

4. We called for a Pandemic Fund that protects animals 

Members and supporters of our coalition called on the World Bank to ensure its newly-launched Pandemic Fund invests in animal health systems. We made our case loud and clear in civil society consultations, and in an open letter to the fund’s governing board.  

This billion-dollar fund will support low-and-middle-income countries to protect themselves from future global health threats. We won’t protect global health without animal health. 

5. We welcomed new partners on board 

Action for Animal Health were joined by new members and partners in the last year. We welcomed Farm Africa – an international NGO supporting small holder farms in Eastern Africa – as a valued coalition member. We also joined forces with the coalition for Preventing Pandemics at the Source to advocate for prevention of spillover of zoonotic diseases.  

In 2023, we’ll keep pushing for a Pandemic Fund and pandemic instrument that builds strong animal health systems. And look out for a new report from us to be released in the next few months! Keep up to date by signing up to our newsletter.  

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