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Obafemi Awolowo University Inaugurates its One Health Team

Obafemi Awolowo University Inaugurates its One Health Team

Nigeria: Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife: The Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife Inaugurated its One Health team on Friday 25th February, 2022 at The College of Health Sciences Board room.

The meeting was Chaired and inaugurated by the Provost of the College of Health Sciences, Prof Babatope Kolawole, who was represented by the Dean, Faculty of Dentistry, Prof Morenike Ukpong, a member of the One Health Team.

The special guest of honour was Prof. F. A. Adesina, Executive Director of the Obafemi Awolowo University Central Office of Research represented by Prof. S. O. Oseni, the Director, University Research Office, and a member of the One Health Team.

Other team members include Professor Anthony. O. Onipede, Department of Medical Microbiology & Parasitology who leads the Team and Dr Olufemi Aluko, Environmental Health Unit of the Department of Community Health who serves as the Secretary. Other members are Prof S. Idowu Ola and Dr. Bukola O. Oyebanji of the Department of Animal Sciences; Dr B. Odetoyin and Dr. B.O. Olopade of the Department of Medical Microbiology & Parasitology, Dr. O. Sowemimo of the Department of Zoology, and Dr. T. Adeyanju of the Department of Community Health, Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital Complex.

One Health is a collaborative, multisectoral, and trans-disciplinary approach - working at local, national and global levels – to achieve optimal health and well-being outcomes, recognizing the interconnections between people, animals, plants, and their shared environment. It can also be viewed as an approach towards designing, signing, and implementing programs, policies, legislations, and research in a systematic and integrative manner for optimal health outcomes.

Globally, the threat of infectious diseases, particularly emerging infectious diseases, originating at the human-animal-environment interface, has caught health systems off guard.

Emergence and re-emergence of diseases such as Lassa fever, Avian influenza, and Ebola and Corona viral diseases, which threatened socio-economic disruption, have heightened the need for inter-sectoral coordination/collaboration. There is also the need to support national and local multi-sectoral emergency preparedness.

The One Health Team initiative in OAU, is for the first time, promoting interactions among researchers in the College of Health Sciences, as well as in the Faculties of Agriculture, Pharmacy and Science. This should foster integrative and systems’ thinking in the global One Health Research & Development  agenda for the benefit of humanity, animals, environment, and the ecosystem as a whole.  

The primary aim of the team is to provide research-based evidence to drive the implementation of the 2019-2023 National One Health Strategic Plan. Another major aim is to connect with global stakeholders and institutions driving the One Health agenda. Already, links have been established with the Institute for Translational and Emerging Research in Advanced Comparative Therapy (INTERACT), Oklahoma State University, USA, as well as the Humanimal Trust, United Kingdom.  

One of the efforts in this direction is to work with the Oklahoma State University to implement a MoU that promises to strengthen capacities for course integration of One Health for the different disciplines and cadre of manpower development engaged in all the interfaces of health at the university. Furthermore, the overall impact of this MoU will enhance the capacity of the One Health Team at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, to lead cutting edge research on pathogen genomics and molecular diagnostics. 

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