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Conference explores integrated ‘One Health’ approach to infectious diseases


Tuesday 11 November 2014 2:58pm

Prof John Crump
Professor John Crump

Infectious diseases and other health concerns arising at the interface between people, animals, and the environment, are the focus of the 7th annual conference of the Otago International Health Research Network (OIHRN) that begins tomorrow.

Hosted by the University of Otago’s Centre for International Health, the annual event brings together people within and beyond the University to foster collaboration and inter-disciplinary work on the developing world’s most pressing health problems.

The conference runs at the Hutton Theatre, Otago Museum, Dunedin, 12-13 November 2014 and includes visiting experts from Switzerland, Myanmar, Canada, and Thailand.

John Crump, McKinlay Professor of Global Health, says many people in the developing world rely on livestock for economic wellbeing as well as primary sources of protein for their families.

“At the same time, a number of infectious diseases may affect livestock survival, growth, productivity, and fertility and can be transmitted between animals and people, particularly when animal health is not a priority and people live in very close association with animals and their environments,” Professor Crump says.

Addressing infectious diseases at the interface between humans, animals, and the environment requires the collaborative effort of multiple disciplines, working locally, nationally, and globally, to attain optimal health for people, animals and the environment. “This integrated approach is often referred to as the ‘One Health’ approach,” he says.

This year’s conference keynote address, called the McKinlay Oration, is entitled ‘One Health: The added value of closer cooperation of human and veterinary medicine’.

The Oration will be delivered by Professor Dr Jakob Zinsstag-Klopfenstein, Head of the Human and Animal Health Unit at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute and current president of the International Association for Ecology and Health.

This free public lecture takes place at 4pm on Wednesday 12 November in the Hutton Theatre, Otago Museum.

The University of Otago, Massey University, and Environmental Science and Research (ESR) are currently collaborating to develop a strategic alliance on ‘One Health’ to:

  • Better understand infectious disease transmission through a coordinated and holistic approach to research
  • And, ultimately, develop better ways to prevent and treat infections of national and international importance

This initiative builds on New Zealand’s existing strengths and needs in One Health to solve critical health and development problems at home and abroad.

For more information, contact:

Professor John Crump
McKinlay Professor of Global Health
Centre for International Health
University of Otago
Tel 64 3 479 9460

A list of Otago experts available for media comment is available elsewhere on this website.

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