Last Updated: 12th April, 2021 23:33 IST

Dr Harsh Vardhan, talking how human health could not be seen in isolation anymore, stressed on the need of 'One Health' approach, especially during COVID.

Written By

Bhakti Hargunani


On Monday, April 12, Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that human health could not be seen in isolation anymore especially in an era where interaction between humans and animals has only increased. He further added COVID-19 as an appropriate example for the aforementioned apparatus between humans and animals today.

READ | Aviation Ministry bans meals on flights having duration upto 2 hours amid COVID-19 spike

According to Dr. Vardhan, no human can currently exist in vacuum, thus compelling 'One Health' approach. He released the journal of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)'s 'One health' symposium.

READ | PM Modi to hold review meeting on COVID-19 with Governors on April 14 amid surge in cases

"The present international symposium is focused on 'One Health' approach which recognises that the health of people is closely related to the health of animals and our shared environment," he said. He talked about the rapid spread of novel pathogens as demonstrated by COVID-19 and how it can have significant impact on the global economy. 

READ | COVID-19: PIL in SC seeks direction to Centre to open vaccination for people below 45

Causes of infectious diseases between 1973 and 1994

He elucidated that 64 per cent of all infectious diseases which have emerged between 1973 and 1994 had aetiology which was zoonotic in nature. A lot of contributory factors were explained and highlighted by the Union Health Minister.

READ | COVID-19: AIIMS Director speaks to Arnab on combating 2nd wave; backs vaccination approach

He further explained how -

READ | Mumbai records 3084 fewer daily COVID-19 cases; 31,746 high-risk contacts traced in 24 hrs

  • people in closer and regular contact with domestic as well as wild animals,
  • changes in climatic conditions of the Earth,
  • deforestation, intensive farming,
  • increase in population,
  • human habitation into new geographic areas

should be understood in order to shape the overall health landscape. A high-level committee for such eco-health initiatives will be constituted and shall be supported by the upcoming National Institute for One Health.

Dr Harsh Vardhan also warned about India being one of four global hotspots where a huge risk of emergence of infectious zoonotic diseases, drug resistance and foodborne infections exists. This approach is recognised as vital in the wake of a surge in COVID-19 cases.

The 'One Health' is an approach working at local, national, and global levels – to achieve optimal health and well-being outcomes recognizing the interconnections between people, animals, plants, and their shared environment.