The Tripartite (WHO, WOAH and FAO) (1)
has developed the National Bridging Workshop (NBW) Programme
to support intersectoral collaboration among countries to help prevent, detect and respond to zoonotic diseases and other health events at the animal–human interface. The cornerstone activity of the programme is a three-day workshop, bringing together 60–90 stakeholders from animal and human health services at the local, national and regional level, as well as representatives of other relevant sectors (the environment, wildlife, media, police, etc.).
These interactive NBW sessions build on existing synergies between the WHO International Health Regulations (IHR) and WOAH PVS Pathway. The aim is to raise awareness of the importance of greater streamlining of One Health (OH) activities in order to strengthen both animal and human health systems.
The programme creates a unique opportunity for the human, animal and environmental health sectors to jointly identify any gaps in collaboration and to develop a roadmap to address them. To ensure greater impact, the Tripartite also provides support for implementing roadmap activities. These follow-up activities are structured around four pillars:
- The recruitment of a national NBW Catalyst (an OH expert).
- Monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the roadmap activities.
- Technical and, when possible, financial support for the implementation of the roadmap activities.
- The establishment of a Community of Practice to share and discuss experiences, good practices and challenges.
The NBW Programme has led to the completion of more than 40 workshops, and most countries are already advanced in carrying out the roadmap. Momentum has also been created for OH initiatives, as illustrated by many OH platforms being reactivated during NBWs in Africa, and institutional endorsement of the OH approach in some countries following a workshop.
|In Tanzania, the mapping of OH stakeholders and the establishment of coordination and communication mechanisms between the sectors has improved the detection, prevention and control of zoonoses, as evidenced by the efficient control of the recent leptospirosis outbreak in the Lindi region.
|In Sierra Leone, joint rapid response teams were put together, risk communication messaging and community engagement were carried out as a combined effort, and the incident action plan for an OH response was also a jointly crafted document. The response to the May 2022 anthrax outbreak in Sierra Leone (animal and human cases in the Portloko and Karene districts) was an inspiring example of OH collaboration and a significant improvement on other responses in the past.
|In Nigeria, NBW roadmap implementation resulted in improved sharing of surveillance information among the three sectors. For example, the National One Health Risk Surveillance and Information Sharing (NOHRSIS) group has been instrumental in speeding up the exchange of information, leading to a more effective response to the recent monkeypox outbreak, as well as the rapid execution of joint risk assessments for anthrax, Crimean−Congo haemorrhagic fever and blue tick fever, all of which were reported in neighbouring countries.
(1) The Tripartite is composed of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) and the World Health Organization (WHO).