It’s been a very busy January for us! Seattle, Ethiopia, and the UK with barely time to breathe in between trips… but we’re not complaining! Our most recent trip was to London to attend and present at a meeting at Chatham House, the headquarters of the Royal Institute of International Affairs. The meeting was convened by the Centre on Global Health Security in collaboration with Public Health England (PHE), the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), the University of Surrey (UoS) and the One Health Platform and was entitled “One Health in a Globalized World: Challenges and Opportunities for the UK”.
About 30 big names in the human, animal and global health fields were present and for a few minutes right at the beginning we were wondering if the organisers had made a mistake in inviting us to present…. we soon got over this initial insecurity once we started to meet and talk about our work and perspectives on One Health. The meeting two-day meeting was held under “Chatham House Rule” which originated here of course but is now used in meetings throughout the world to encourage frank discussion amongst participants.
“When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed”.
Participants at the meeting grappled with what One Health really is, how institutionalised it needs to be, and the important role data sharing and data integration will play in developing platforms which will encourage concrete, evidence-based collaboration. There was clear agreement that plants, animals, and humans are dependent on the health of the planet itself and that social sciences, ecology, and epidemiologists play an incredibly important role in drawing together human health, veterinary medicine, and plant health specialists.
Both Angus and I presented at the workshop and the response to our presentations was so positive we left the meeting quite dizzy, with our heads full of new ideas and new contacts. Angus’s presentation on iSIKHNAS drew breaths from the audience on a number of occasions.
It is always a privilege to be invited to contribute to high-level meetings such as these and we were grateful to have the opportunity to present. We look forward to following up on a lot of interesting conversations.