University researchers, international experts lay groundwork for One Health initiatives in Palestine

Palestinian and international public health researchers, experts, and officials have discussed how to implement health initiatives based on the One Health approach in a workshop organized by Birzeit University’s Institute of Community and Public Health (ICPH) on July 7–8, 2021. 

The workshop is part of a project carried out by ICPH together with the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, associated with the University of Basel, that aims to design and implement public-health initiatives and programs focused on both animal and human health. This approach, termed One Health, calls for a multi-sectoral, multidisciplinary response to health risks that endanger humans and animals as two parts of the same ecosystem. 

The workshop was attended by faculty and staff members from ICPH, the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, the Palestinian ministries of Health and National Economy, Al-Bireh Municipality, and representatives of the private industry. 

In the workshop, the attendees explored the best ways through which the One Health approach can be applied in Palestine and the relevant groups and institutes can effectively contribute to such an approach. The attendees focused on two particular issues: how to prevent the transmission of diseases from animals to humans, and how to control the rise in antibiotic resistance in pathogens. 

To address these issues, the attendees discussed investigating the meat production chain in Palestine through field research that will see how widespread pathogens — such as  Salmonella or Campylobacter — are in the production of white meat and how resistant they are to antibiotics. 

After the initial survey phase, researchers associated with the project will compile their data on the proliferation of pathogens, their antibiotic resistance, and the effect of applying sanitation procedures throughout the entire meat production chain into a report on applying the One Health approach to white meat production in the country. 

For more information about the project, you can contact the project coordinator, Professor Niveen Abu Rmeileh, at [email protected]