“One Health, One Earth”
Human health is closely related to animal and environmental health: under this concept is the founding philosophy of One Health Award. As per definition of the Task Force for the One Health Initiative made in 2008, sponsored by the American Association of Veterinary Medicine, this approach requires “a collaborative, multisectoral, and trans-disciplinary approach – working at local, regional, national, and global levels – to achieve optimal health (and well-being) outcomes recognizing the interconnections between people, animals, plants and their shared environment”. It is officially recognized by the Italian Ministry of Health, the European Commission and all major international health organizations.
The holistic vision One Health, One Earth is thus consolidated into a health model based on the integration of different disciplines – primarily human medicine, veterinary medicine and ecology – to prevent the spread of disease. This is a vision as topical as it is ancient. As early as the 18th century, the Pope’s archiatrician Giovanni Maria Lancisi observed the relationships between the disease processes of animals and humans in De Bovilla peste.
One Health, One Earth is an ideal approach to achieving global health because it also addresses the needs of the most vulnerable populations based on the intimate relationship between their health, the health of their animals, and the environment in which they live, considering the broad spectrum of determinants that emerge from this relationship.
The avian influenza pandemic of the early 2000s led the scientific community to reflect on the importance of considering the One Health, One Earth approach in preventing and preparing for the emergence of possible health threats emerging from the human-animal-environment interface. The experience of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has only made more evident the need for a new awareness in the relationship between living beings and the surrounding environment. The time has come to look at the planet no longer just looking at humans, but at the balance between all forms of life in our common home.
Understanding the world and man, the relationships between the environment and the species that inhabit it, analyzing the changes that occur in the relationships between living beings to understand the delicate interconnections between humans, animals and their habitat. Where viruses and bacteria learn more and more to jump from one species to another. The “spillover” is not something random, but it is the symptom of a broken balance within the various ecosystems. It is therefore necessary to rethink the foundations of the relationship between man and the environment. And the One Health Award will be an opportunity to bring this goal to the center of the Italian and international public debate.