About 60% of existing and 75% of newly emerging infectious diseases in humans are zoonotic, which are infections that are spread between people and animals.
"One Health" stakeholders are now meeting in Windhoek to address shared health threats, including zoonotic diseases in the city.
Petronella Masabane, Deputy Executive Director in the Ministry of Health, says even though Namibia has managed to control diseases such as malaria morbidity and mortality, HIV prevalence, and infant and child mortality rates, zoonotic diseases have not received enough attention.
She says concerted efforts can only be achieved through an established one-health coordinating body.
"These stakeholder's engagement came at the right time when the country is fast-tracking the establishment of Namibia Public Health Institute, which will further strengthen the country's One Health Strategy, as well as consolidating the collaboration among different role players on One Health," she said, adding that "Globally, zoonotic diseases are associated with 2.5 billion cases of human illness and 2.7 million deaths annually, mostly in developing countries."
The workshop, Masabane says, will pave the way for the establishment of more targeted strategies on zoonotic diseases, such as integrated vector control management, including neglected tropical diseases, and strengthened environmental management.
"The One-Health Approach helps address shared health threats such as zoonotic diseases, antimicrobial resistance, food safety and security, vector-borne diseases, and extreme weather or conflict events, which can disrupt and displace populations."