Author: Dr Hope Johnson, School of Law, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia
A multidisciplinary, multi-sectoral team has conducted one of the first evaluations of pandemic risk management at a country-level focused on long-term pandemic prevention. The team brought together expertise from across Australia on animal health, biosecurity, conservation sciences, social sciences, behavioural psychology, law, policy and economic analyses and drew on a series of multi-stakeholder workshops held in 2020.
The study comprehensively identifies the key risks for spill-over of pathogens with pandemic potential in Australia. Findings show that the country has a strong biosecurity regime for specific known risks but lacks adequate responses to both unknown biosecurity risks and to broader risks posed by, for instance, land clearing and climate change. It also details how a One Health approach is emerging in national policies and what reforms are required to improve pandemic risk management through such an approach.
One Health in the Australian context was conceptualised using the definition from the One Health High-Level Expert Panel (OHHLEP)—launched last year by the World Organisation for Animal Health, along with its Quadripartite partners—notably (a) requiring ‘deep prevention’ policies that address the environmental factors that increase pandemic potential (b) meaningfully incorporating the perspectives and knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The team developed a detailed set of recommendations drawing on One Health and the analysis of the current pandemic risk management responses in the country. These recommendations include:
- Creating a One Health governance body within the Federal Government system;
- Developing a network of experts, including researchers from natural and social sciences, representatives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups, and stakeholders from private and public sectors;
- Improving mapping to predict spill-over risk;
- Creating a centrally coordinated surveillance system for emerging disease threats.
The research can be accessed at: An argument for pandemic risk management using a multidisciplinary One Health approach to governance: an Australian case study | Globalization and Health | Full Text (biomedcentral.com)
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