SCI Foundation is now Unlimit Health. Learn more about what the change means for our ongoing efforts to eliminate neglected tropical diseases

One Health

The World Health Organization defines One Health as “an approach to designing and implementing programmes, policies, legislation and research in which multiple sectors communicate and work together to achieve better public health outcomes”.

The importance of a One Health approach to addressing parasitic diseases

Unlimit Health works to tackle parasitic infections, including schistosomiasis, a disease caused by parasitic flatworms called schistosomes. The schistosome parasite has a complicated life cycle that requires a snail intermediate host to enable it to develop into the life stage that infects people.

An effective and widespread control method is mass drug administration (MDA) to human populations at risk of infection. However, our long-term goal is to support country governments to reduce the number of people becoming infected in the first place and to break the transmission of schistosomiasis.

To do this, we need to support the implementation of a truly sustainable strategy for the control and elimination of this disease, and there are further challenges to overcome, since hybrid species capable of infecting people have been found emerging from cattle. As the parasites themselves evolve into new forms, treatment strategies will need to adapt to include both the human and livestock population and this may be further complicated by global travel, as demonstrated by the recent outbreak in Corsica.


One Health at Unlimit Health

Dr Wendy Harrison and Dr Gabrielle Laing present the Global Health Charity Show

We aim to take a One Health approach to improving health by working across different partners operating in animal, human, and environmental health to optimise health of societies, animals and ecosystems. Our approach goes beyond treatment of parasitic worms in people and aims to change population behaviour to reduce transmission between humans and between human and animal populations, address environmental transmission factors, and increase access to all basic services including healthcare, water, sanitation and education (One Health Systems Strengthening). We also explore ways in which control strategies for multiple pathogens can be brought together, for instance the relevance of treatments against schistosomiasis for diseases caused by pork tapeworms (Taenia Solium).

Our CEO Dr Wendy Harrison and One Health Policy Advisor Dr Gabrielle Laing presented the UK Health Radio’s Global Health Charity Show, talking about linking people, places and animals and how a One Health approach can lead to healthy societies & ecosystems.

Listen to the show!


Recommendations on One Health Governance and Policy

Unlimit Health’s Dr Gabrielle Laing worked with the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (RSTMH) and Uniting to Combat NTDs (UTC) to develop recommendations on One Health for the G7 and other world leaders.

We surveyed and interviewed 137 professionals from around the world, working in human, animal and environmental health. They included those currently working in industry, academia, NGOs, healthcare, government and intergovernmental organisations

The recommendations in this report address the importance of adopting a One Health approach for emerging and endemic zoonotic disease, Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response, Antimicrobial Resistance, food security and the global health workforce, and climate change.

The UK’s new cross-government Global Health Framework commits to a One Health, and therefore cross-departmental, approach over its many diverse elements. This can help to mainstream health outcomes into every department’s work and drives resilience across sectors. Taking a One Health Systems Strengthening approach to global health can help us achieve healthy societies, healthy animals and healthy ecosystems.


Upskilling to embrace the One Health approach

As the demand for cross-sectoral, One Health ways of working are being adopted it’s essential that the workforce have the right skills to be able to embrace this new approach. This was something outlined by the UN Quadripartite for One Health in their Joint Plan of Action. Unlimit Health’s Dr Gabrielle Laing, with the European Network for Ecohealth and One Health (NEOH) lead a publication proposing nine updated core competences that should be taught across disciplines as complimentary to their specialist training.  


Improve your knowledge and skills on One Health and neglected tropical diseases:

  • One Health approaches consider the interconnections between human, animal and environmental health, and take a whole ecosystem approach to improving health for all. For more information, read the One Health High-Level Expert Panel definition 
  • One Health companion document to the NTD roadmap (Ending the neglect to attain the Sustainable Development Goals: a road map for neglected tropical diseases 2021-2030 (“the road map”)). The One Health companion document aims to support a range of stakeholders – including countries in which neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are endemic, international organizations and non-State actors – to achieve the road map targets through a transdisciplinary, cross-cutting One Health approach. 
  • One Health In Action Against NTDs – the online One Health course for practitioners provides hands-on tools and examples to help you put the One Health Framework for Action on NTDs into practice.
  • Advancing One Health: Updated core competencies – a Network for Ecohealth and One Health paper from Dr Gabrielle Laing lists 9 core competencies for a One Health workforce, enabling practitioners from all professions and disciplines to complement their specialised skills so that we have the capacity and competency to work in an integrated way to tackle complex global challenges.
  • Unlimit Health chair the NTD NGO Network (NNN) One Health working group with members case studies on implementing One Health  
  • One Health for neglected tropical diseases – an open access paper  by Dr Gabrielle Laing and Dr Wendy Harrison of Unlimit Health, including the case studies for operationalising One Health for NTDs. 
  • The World Health Organization NTD Road Map 2021-2030 

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