Experts call for G20 health ministers to invest in animal health for stronger global health systems

ILRI/Nguyen Ngoc Huyen).

Action for Animal Health is a coalition of multilateral organizations, non-governmental organizations and research institutes with expertise in animal, human and environmental health. The coalition advocates for increased investment in strong and resilient animal health systems that protect people, animals and the planet. The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), one of 15 CGIAR research centres, is a member of the coalition.

Ahead of this year’s G20 Health Ministers’ Meeting, scheduled for 5–6 September 2021, the Action for Animal Health coalition urges G20 countries to support four transformative actions for stronger animal health systems:

  1. Ensure communities have access to animal health services
  2. Increase and upskill the animal health workforce globally
  3. Improve access to safe medicines and vaccines for animals
  4. Strengthen early warning disease surveillance systems that are effective from the community level upwards

With 75% of new diseases emerging from animals, the G20 must fund and implement a One Health approach to prevent future pandemics. A One Health approach recognizes that the health of people is closely linked to the health of animals and their shared environment. It involves the collaborative efforts of multiple disciplines and sectors to prevent and control diseases. It is especially useful for managing zoonoses, diseases transmitted between animals and people.

Zoonoses, like COVID-19, and antimicrobial resistance are among the major global public health threats facing humanity. The G20 urgently needs to invest in animal health to strengthen and secure global health systems and build resilience to future health challenges.

Photo credit: A local cattle owner walks his cattle on a rainy day in Hung Yen province, Vietnam (ILRI/Nguyen Ngoc Huyen)