Deputy VC seeks collaboration among medical practitioners to solve emerging health challenges

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Prof. Olanike Adeyemo, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research, In-novation and Strategic Partnerships, University of Ibadan, has called for collaborations among medical practitioners toward achieving one health concept.

Adeyemo made the call at a Valedictory/Retirement Lecture organised by the Veterinary Department, Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture, in collaboration with the Guild of Veterinary Surgeons and Animal Health Technologists, on Tuesday in Lagos.

The valedictory lecture was organised in honour of a veterinarian, Dr Olalekan Allison, Permanent Secretary, Office of the Special Adviser of Education, Lagos State, who is retiring from active service on Oct. 2, having attained the mandatory age of 60 years.

In her lecture entitled: “Our World, Our Animals and Our Health”, Adeyemo said that practitioners, whether in the environmental health or human health, must break the lines and barriers that separates them.

According to her, this is to perform optimally and provide solution to the health challenges confronting the world through research.

“One Health is the collaborative efforts of multiple disciplines working locally, nationally, and globally, to attain optimal health for people, animals and the environment.

“One Health concept represents the inseparability of human, animal and environmental health through a unified view of healthcare.

“There is need to break down the lines and collaborate, be it environmental health or human health.

“We have to understand that we all work together to provide solution to most of the challenges we are facing. Well, it is about a ‘One Health’ concept.

“What we are beginning to know as human beings is that, we don’t live in isolation in this world. So, in making decisions, we have to consider the environment.

“We have to consider animal as co-tenants in the planet.

“But now, the world diversity shows that we live in a planet that we need to take care of, for us to actually continue to exist in it,” she said.

Adeyemo said that as humans, people must consider the environment in whatever decisions they make and include the animals as co-tenants.

She urged people to desist from polluting the environment which could have adverse effect on human and animals.

“You can see it with the climate change, you can see with all these things that are happening, COVID-19 is the most recent one.

“So, we are talking about the lines of pollution, the lines of communication that we cannot continue to operate within disciplinary boundaries.

“We need to break down the lines, and we need to collaborate, whether it’s environmental health, whether it’s human health.

“We have to understand that all work together to provide solution to most of the challenges we are facing,” she said.

The deputy VC described zoonotic diseases as diseases of animals, transmissible to man, adding that most of them were driven by the continued and continuous interaction among humans, animals and the environment.

“The same challenge we are facing is the pollution of the environment, because it destroys the environment, then, those are the drivers of diseases that we see in animals in humans.

“This is about justifying to one health approach, to the way we take decisions, the way we carry out research within the academic and then our collaboration as practitioners as well,” she said.

Contributing, Dr Ismail Abdul-Salam, Director, Epidemiology, Bio-security and Global Health, Lagos State Ministry of Health, stressed the need for collaboration among medical doctors, veterinarians, sociologists, scientists and other practitioners.

Abdul-Salam spoke on “Zoonosis: The One Health Approach.”

He said 75 per cent of diseases affecting humans were zoonotic in origin and for the infection to occur, there must be an interplay between the humans and the environment.

The celebrator, Allison, said more roles should be given to the veterinarians, adding that there should be collaborative efforts between the human health and animal health.

He said the best doctor was veterinarian, because he just has to know what was wrong with his patient because the patient could not talk.

“It is necessary that we all collaborate; we now have what is called One Health, that is, the medics, the medical doctors and veterinary doctors are collaborating.

“As you also know, what we have today, the Coronavirus infection, emerged from the animal.

“So, I believe that veterinarians have a lot of role to play so as to make sure we know the devastating effects of Coronavirus.

“Lots of people have passed away due to the infection, and the scourge is still not over,” Allison said.

He commended the Lagos State Government for giving him the opportunity to serve and contribute his quota to the development of agriculture and education in the state.