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Health and the Environment, Jun 2022

Greater focus on the link between the health of people and planet welcomed by Prof. Omer Njajou

As a strong advocate of the One Health approach to health security, TDDA welcomes the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recent announcement that the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has joined the One Health alliance. The formal creation of this quadripartite partnership will see the UNEP working alongside the WHO, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH).

It is good news. The strengthening of this global alliance signals an increased commitment to health security and acknowledges the close interdependency between human health and a healthy planet. Recognizing this delicate inter-relationship is something that is central to our work in our five host countries. Since our inception in 2019, TDDA has assisted governments to establish and improve National One Health Platforms (NOHPs) to strengthen coordination between the numerous agencies responsible for human, animal and environmental health. We also advocate for all parts of society to be represented in these mechanisms to ensure policies and plans reflect the needs of all people.

In the DAI article linked below, TDDA’s Prof. Omer Njajou explains why waste management in Cameroon will be a new area of focus in the fourth year of our programme.

Prof. Njajou, TDDA's technical expert on International Health Regulations

During the height of the pandemic, the TDDA project supported testing and healthcare worker training, and combatted COVID-19 misinformation in communities. But we started asking, what happens to all the COVID-19 waste, like gloves, masks, tests, etc? These biohazards can endanger human and animal health and there was no way to manage them. Now we are working with the national government in Cameroon to develop a waste management plan and standard operating procedures for medical and chemical waste disposal.

Prof. Njajou also predicts that One Health platforms will become the main mechanism to prevent, detect, and respond to public health events—whether zoonotic, biological, or chemical – making our support to NOHPs ever more important.

The full article appeared in DAI's Developments newsletter. Read it here.


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