AMRRIC (Animal Management in Rural and Remote Indigenous Communities) recently used the occasion of International One Health Day (4 November) to call for further research and understanding into the complex and interconnected relationships between human, animal, and environmental health.
One Health is both an international movement and approach to designing and implementing programs, policies, legislation and research in which multiple disciplines collaborate to achieve better health outcomes for humans, animals and the environment.
Recent events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, which is believed to have originated as a virus carried by bats, have highlighted the important role that changing interactions between people, animals and the environment can play in the occurrence of new diseases, and the vital need for improved understanding of these relationships.
In remote Indigenous communities that AMRRIC serves, there has long been an understanding of the importance of One Health principles, which align with the interconnectedness inherent within Indigenous worldviews.
While AMRRIC’s work has a veterinary focus, all AMRRIC’s activities are underpinned by One Health values, leading to collaboration with medical, public health, environmental health and conservation professionals, for better outcomes for communities and their companion animals.
One Health Day is an opportunity to celebrate the ways in which One Health informs and strengthens AMRRIC’s work, whether it be through strong animal- and health-focused education programs in the community, the environmental impacts of unmanaged cat populations, collaborative work with health services to detect and prevent zoonotic disease occurrences, or vet programs that are advised by community and cultural protocols.
AMRRIC also recognises the enormous knowledge gaps, particularly around the prevalence and significance of animal-derived pathogens and their impact on the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
On One Health Day, and in the wake of COVID-19—and with the potential for other zoonotic diseases like rabies to develop into a greater threat for remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities—AMRRIC calls for further funding and support for ethical, co-designed One Health-focused research which will benefit the health of communities, companion animals and country.