PNG initiates One Health Country Plan

Posted on:Apr 25, 2019News

A One Health Country Plan for Papua New Guinea has been initiated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Government of PNG with the aim to promote the “One Health” approach nationally by addressing food and nutritional safety as well as antimicrobial resistance.

In recent decades, globalization, growing populations and changes in lifestyle have affected world’s ecosystems; posing major and complex challenges relating to climate change, air and water pollution, chemical exposure, biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation.

The One Health concept advocates a paradigm shift that considers such problems in a holistic manner, using a system approach and promoting trans-disciplinary collaboration across a wider range of disciplines. The concept considers human health as interconnected with health of animals, plants and ecosystems.

FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (RAP) is now working with selected countries (including PNG) to broaden the One Health concept to these thematic areas that benefit from a holistic systems approach.

PNG is one of the three pilot countries selected to develop country plans to engage stakeholders in holistically addressing a chosen thematic area. The thematic area for PNG is food safety and nutrition which is further elaborated in the PNG One Health Country Plan.

FAO RAP Lead Technical Officer, Sridhar Dharmapuri, was in PNG and made a presentation during the OH roundtable inception workshop held at Stanley Hotel on 27 March.

The participants included officers from FAO PNG, DAL, Department of Health, World Health Organisation, National Agriculture Quarantine Inspection Authority, National Agriculture Research Institute, National Fisheries Authority, Conservation Environment Protection Authority, National Capital District Commission, Commerce and Industry.

At the official opening, FAO PNG head Ken Shimizu and DAL Deputy Secretary Agriculture Development Division Stephen Mombi both welcomed the current efforts to develop the OH concept and urged all stakeholders to work together and give their support.

Mr Shimizu said stakeholders need to collaborate to make the concept work because human health is interconnected with health of animals, plants and the ecosystems.

Mr Mombi said it was important for PNG to have the OH country plan and it must be aligned to other strategies and plans at national and international levels. The OH country plan will enable PNG to have baseline data and information to be used for further surveillance and awareness raising in the provinces.

DAL’s National Codex Committee may become the National Project Coordinator of the FAO PNG OH country plan.