We are pleased to see emphasis on One Health within World Health Organization’s zero draft of a pandemic accord, as well as more references to the prevention of pandemics at source.
However, for the treaty to fulfil its objective to “prevent pandemics, save lives, reduce disease burden and protect livelihoods” it is vital that there is more focus on obligations to prevent the spill over of zoonotic diseases and limit their circulation at source.
Animal health services are critically important in the prevention of zoonotic disease spread, yet underinvestment in the sector has led to huge shortages in animal health workforces, medicines and vaccines, barriers to service delivery and access, gaps in disease surveillance, and poor animal welfare. Outbreaks of animal and zoonotic diseases, and antimicrobial resistance, are tangible effects of this lack of investment.
Whilst we welcome the draft’s acknowledgement of the need for integrated surveillance systems, and the engagement of communities in surveillance of emerging infectious diseases, it is vital that appropriate resources are made available to fulfil this.
As the negotiations are due to start, we urge WHO’s member states to support the inclusion of an obligation to strengthen animal health systems as the fundamental basis of pandemic prevention.
Read our full recommendations for member states and the INB here.