Close collaboration between veterinary and human medicine is critical for maintaining and promoting human and animal health, saving resources, and preserving the environment. This multidisciplinary approach is known as One Health.

There are various factors threatening human and animal health. Among them are diseases that are transmitted between humans and animals, infectious diseases spread by insects and resistant pathogens. Climate change and globalization reinforce these threats and make them global. Through the intensive movement of people, animals and goods, pathogens of infectious diseases can, for example, be introduced into countries which had eradicated them or in which they had never yet appeared. One Health’s interdisciplinary approach is therefore essential to deal with these dangers.

Implementation of the One Health approach

In Switzerland, national and cantonal competences in matters of public health, animal health, agriculture and the environment are divided between several departments. The successful prevention and fight against global dangers requires close cooperation between the Confederation and the cantons. It is for this reason that the One Health sub-organ was created. This coordinates the objectives and strategies for early detection, surveillance and the fight against health risks. It thus supports the federal offices and the cantonal services competent in this area.