SEMARANG- The spokesperson for the Covid-19 Task Force, Prof. Wiku Adisasmito, DVM., M.Sc., Ph.D; emphasized the need to optimize the implementation of One Health Concept in controlling the Covid-19 pandemic. The concept of one health means to integrate aspects of human health, animal health, and the environment in one handling unit.

This was stated by Prof. Wiku as a keynote speaker at 6th International Conference on Energy, Environment, Epidemiology and Information System (ICENIS) in 2021 which was held by Postgraduate School of Diponegoro University (UNDIP), on Wednesday (4/8/2021). “The handling of Covid-19 must be comprehensive and it is necessary to optimize One Health concept which integrates aspects of human health, animal health and the environment in one handling unit,” he said.

In his presentation entitled “COVID-19: Lesson Learned and Future Preparedness”, the professor who also teaches at Tufts University in the United States reminded that many diseases have recently developed due to ecosystem imbalances. Ecosystem diversity can inhibit the emergence of zoonotic diseases, namely infectious diseases caused by pathogens (infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses or parasites) that originally came from animals, usually vertebrates, which entered human bodies.

In the session moderated by Prof. Sudharto P Hadi, PhD, Prof. Wiku stated that the damage to ecosystem diversity that has been showing up recently has reduced the inhibitory function of zoonotic diseases. Changes in land use, climate change, human mobility between continents, natural disasters and disasters caused by humans are the causes of the destruction of diversity.

According to him, if the balance between humans, animals and the environment cannot be managed properly, then the heaviest disaster will be felt by humans. In the last 16 years, for example, four infectious diseases have emerged that are difficult to control, namely Swine Flu or A(H1N1) PDM09, Bird Flu or H7N9, respiratory disease caused by coronavirus (MERS-COV), and Covid-19.

Prof. Wiku said that at the national level, the strategic implementation of the concept has been carried out through three aspects, namely the unity of data as a navigator, improving public health and public communication. Public health improvement can be achieved by changing behavior as the key to public health adaptation. “It takes a lot of research to find out the risk factors and the bottom line is the need of behavior change,” he added.

Prof. Wiku firmly stated that the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic is the battle of the entire population on earth, it cannot be done alone because the virus can spread very quickly. He reminded that at the beginning in just 70 days, the virus had spread to 114 countries or approximately 58% of countries in the world.

So in the context of handling the Covid-19 pandemic, handling must be at a global level. He gave an example about vaccines, there are several countries that do not have access to vaccines so they must be helped because the virus is spread globally. “Collaboration between countries must be done,” he said.

Regarding global handling, several efforts are also being made, such as the Global Verome Project, a project which has goal to understanding viruses better, knowing the types of viruses that have the potential to harm humans through increasing diagnostic capacity and detecting the presence of threatening viruses. The project intends to collect 70% of the existing 1.67 million types of viruses so that an early warning system against future threats can be developed.

He said that all countries need to set out a vision to not to be unguarded of the spread of virus like Covid-19. All countries must be better prepared to respond to new diseases.

Another program developed globally is One Health Laboratory Network which connects various human, animal and environmental laboratories in order to identify and detect emerging infectious and zoonotic diseases. “Everyone must unite against Covid-19,” he said. (PR team)

Translated by: Titis – Public Relations