NEWS RELEASE 18-AUG-2021
Protecting forests and changing agricultural practices are essential, cost-effective actions to prevent pandemics
HARVARD T.H. CHAN SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH
“ ... A key recommendation from the task force calls for leveraging investments in healthcare system strengthening and One Health to jointly advance conservation, animal and human health, and spillover prevention. A successful example of this integrated model comes from Borneo where a decade of work resulted in ∼70% reduction in deforestation and provided health care access to more than 28,400 patients and substantial decreases in diseases like malaria, tuberculosis and common diseases of childhood.
Additional recommendations for investments and research include:
- Conserve tropical forests, especially in relatively intact forests as well as those that have been fragmented.
- Improve biosecurity for livestock and farmed wild animals, especially when animal husbandry occurs near large or rapidly expanding human populations.
- Establish an intergovernmental partnership to address spillover risk from wild animals to livestock and people from aligned organizations such as FAO, WHO, OIE, UNEP, and Wildlife Enforcement Networks.
- In low- and middle-income countries, leverage investments to strengthen healthcare systems and One Health platforms to jointly advance conservation, animal and human health, and spillover prevention.