EcoHealth Alliance’s Country Assessment Tool assists countries in disease prevention efforts
In celebration of World Environment Day, EcoHealth Alliance is pleased to share its Country Assessment for the Environment Sector in Health tool. This draft tool seeks to assist countries in strengthening the environment sector to be a more equal partner in One Health efforts and more fully contribute to improved human, animal, and environmental health outcomes. While the role of the environment sector is increasingly recognized as crucial for disease prevention and detection, to date it has been largely missing in planning processes and investments to manage disease risk and operationalize One Health.
The tool raises practical questions and considerations for countries to help assess current coverage and identify key gaps. It can help to target feasible entry points and priority investment needs to strengthen short- and long-term capacity. By better understanding opportunities for multi-sectoral collaboration, the environment sector will demonstrate its value addition for endemic, epidemic, and pandemic disease prevention, biodiversity and ecosystem protection, climate action, and more.
EcoHealth Alliance and its partners have long worked with national and non-governmental partners to strengthen capacity and integrate the environment sector into health security and disease prevention efforts. Assessment tools are widely utilized for public health and animal health, through the Joint External Evaluation and the Performance of Veterinary Services. The need for such a tool for the environment sector was highlighted in the World Bank One Health Operational Framework in 2018, and reinforced by the findings from a review of existing assessments published last year in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization.
Strong capacity in the environment sector will help advance implementation of several urgent global priorities, including the forthcoming Global Action Plan for Biodiversity and Health, the One Health Joint Plan of Action, and the Wildlife Health Framework under the World Organisation for Animal Health.
The draft tool was ground-truthed in Liberia in 2018 and piloted in Ghana in 2021. International agencies, development institutions, and national governments are encouraged to utilize, adapt, and expand the tool to guide sufficient investment in wildlife and environmental health systems for improved prevention of disease and protection of health.