How to apply the One Health Initiative in combating emerging infectious diseases in the relations between humans, animals and the environment in Vietnam is being discussed at a two-day conference in Hanoi, which opened on April 3.

The One Health concept is a worldwide strategy for expanding interdisciplinary collaborations and communications in all aspects of health care for humans, animals and the environment.

The synergism achieved will advance health care for the 21st century and beyond by accelerating biomedical research discoveries, enhancing public health efficacy, expeditiously expanding the scientific knowledge base, and improving medical education and clinical care.

The event, co-organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the Health Ministry, looks to coordinate the Vietnamese Government and its partners in deploying One Health initiatives on a national scale.

MARD Minister Phat underlined the need to figure out the root and main factors causing emerging infectious diseases and identify more insiders for the combat.

In the effort, the Vietnamese Government always wishes to receive more cooperation and support from partners and international organisations, he affirmed.

UN Resident Coordinator in Vietnam Pratibha Mehta said infectious diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans like the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and avian flu, and HIV/AIDS may affect human health and livelihood, trade, tourism and economic growth.

In recent years, emerging infectious diseases have increased significantly, she said, noting Southeast Asia as a hotspot in the world.

Participants suggested coordination between doctors and experts in different areas in approaching the One Health Initiative.

They pointed to the necessity to build a national roadmap and enhance coordination between countries and regions as well as international cooperation in order to handle risks of emerging infectious diseases at the human-domestic animal-wildlife interface.

They would work on a time frame to help the Vietnamese Government build a national roadmap and an action plan to implement the One Health strategy.-VNA.