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The BMJ and Vet Record call for collaboration

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The BMJ and Vet Record call for collaboration

The BMJ and Vet Record call for collaboration to tackle global threats to the health of people, animals and the environment

Joint editorial to mark 130 years of Vet Record aims to unite human and veterinary medicine under ‘One Health’ theme

This week, The BMJ and Vet Record make a joint call for collaboration to tackle global threats to the health of people, animals and the environment.

In an editorial to mark 130 years of Vet Record, Fiona Godlee, Editor-in-chief of The BMJ, and Adele Waters, Editor of Vet Record, urge doctors, vets and environmental professionals to work together for a better future under the theme of ‘One Health.’

One Health is a global approach that aims to improve the lives of all species – human and animal – through the integration of human medicine, veterinary medicine and environmental science.

Both journals have proud histories of highlighting the links between human, animal, and environmental health, explain Godlee and Waters, and events over the past decade – bird and swine flu, Ebola, the growth of antimicrobial resistance, and environmental degradation – have brought a renewed sense of urgency.

But why should vets and doctors care about One Health?

They point to the growing transmission of new or emerging infectious diseases, 75% of which are spread from animals, while inappropriate use of antibiotics in human medicine, and overuse in farming and fisheries, has led to the rapid emergence of resistant strains.

Farming practices around the world influence the quality and safety of the food we eat, with obvious implications for human health, they add, while human activity is devastating the natural environment on which we all depend.

In a bid to tackle these complex and inter-related challenges, the One Health approach has been adopted and championed by multiple global organisations, including the World Health Organization.

In 2007 the American Medical Association, the American Veterinary Medicine Association, and the American Public Health Association signed up to a joint One Health initiative – a clear sign that the way in which vets and doctors largely train, practise, and publish within their own spheres is changing.

And in the UK, both the NHS and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have established frameworks that focus on surveillance and control of resistant strains; preventing infection; reducing antibiotic use; and educating professionals and the public.

One Health is now part of the veterinary curriculum, say Godlee and Waters, and medical education and training should follow suit.

To push this agenda, we need new multidisciplinary platforms for research, education, and debate. To help to meet this need, we have added a One Health stream to our open access sister journal BMJ Global Health (gh.bmj.com) and are seeking partnerships for meetings and events to advance the debate.

“As a world we cannot afford to ignore these cumulative threats to the health of people, animals, and the environment or to miss the opportunity to collaborate for a better future,” they conclude.

[Ends]

Editorial: We must collaborate for a better future

Journal: The BMJ / Vet Record