The building blocks to health

Posted on November 04, 2021

The concept of One Health (OH) promotes the interdependence between human, animal, and environmental health spheres. It encourages trans-disciplinary research and work, whereby a focus is placed on working across professional backgrounds to evaluate the impact of change to the health of the different spheres.

Dr Aqil Jeenah, a lecturer in One Health at the Faculty of Veterinary Science (FVS), recently worked with members of the Community-Orientated Practice Care (COPC) research unit at the Faculty of Health Science (FHS). The unit’s mission is “to explore and innovate the practices and processes of doing information and communication technology (ICT) enabled community-oriented primary care.” Currently the COPC research unit has 15 active project sites in mine host communities across South Africa, several sites in informal settlements in Tshwane, as well as sites in communities in Soshanguve and Mamelodi. The aim of the work undertaken between Dr Jeenah and the COPC unit is to embed the OH concept together with everyday health interventions undertaken within the COPC project sites and across South Africa.

To understand how the OH concept and animal health interventions can be embedded into the current work done by the COPC unit, Dr Jeenah partook in various activities with the unit.

These activities included visiting two project sites in the Free State and Limpopo; where a Community Health Worker model exists. Through these visits, various potential areas for collaborative working have been identified such as resource sharing, education, and training. Potential research projects covering infectious diseases and anti-microbial resistance have also been identified.

In early September, Dr Jeenah joined the COPC research unit as they undertook a six-week health determinant survey within the Limpopo province. Utilising the world café methodology, different communities and groups participated in day-long activities where community members identified issues related to health within their communities. This methodology allows for communities to actively create solutions to problems and in doing so ownership of their upliftment is awarded to the participants themselves.

The work undertaken by Dr Jeenah, in partnership with the COPC unit, will hopefully be the foundation for closer collaboration between the FHS and the FVS to improve the health and lives - of humans, animals and the environment.

The COPC research unit at the FHS

- Author Dr Aqil Jeenah and Dr Suzi Malan
Published by Linda Poggenpoel

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