Communities are key to tackling health and climate change issues

Communities role in prevention

Communities are key to tackling health and climate change issues

Communities play a pivotal role in addressing health and climate change challenges effectively. The essence of engaged communities lies at the core of initiatives aimed at mitigating health risks, preventing pandemics, and adapting to climate change within the One Health framework.

One key principle embraced by PREZODE is community engagement in pandemic prevention and response. Communities act as the primary detectors of any unusual incidents, playing a crucial role in preventing spillovers that could lead to pandemics. This role holds particular significance within the context of global change, where the emergence of zoonoses is intricately connected to climate-related health risks. 
In December 2023, during a roundtable at the 28th COP, co-organized by PREZODE and Unitaid, in collaboration with the Global Fund, HE Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, Minister of Health, Malawi, highlighted the health consequences of climate change in her country, along with other Southeast countries of Africa, citing specific instances like Cyclone Freddy causing the reemergence of diseases such as cholera and a spike in malaria.

Community surveillance is central to the prompt detection of alarming situations and the effective implementation of actions to prevent epidemics and pandemics. One Health requires real-time information sharing at all levels before decisions are made at higher levels. For Dr. Papa Seck, President of PREZODE General Assembly and Global Health adviser to the Senegal Presidency, and Professor Musso Munyeme, Chair of PREZODE Steering Committee and senior lecturer in Veterinary Public Health and Wildlife Medicine at the University of Zambia, establishing a resilient system collectively based on the One Health approach is imperative. This system should be community-centered given that communities are the heart of any health system. Therefore, a better understanding of local constraints is key in informing policy, adoption, and creating trust. PREZODE advocates the principle: “Think Global- Act local”. This emphasizes the need to act locally to prevent global pandemics and sustain livelihoods.

Watch how researchers and communities develop a win-win partnership in PREZODE.

Understanding local constraints is key in informing policies, fostering adoption, and building trust. Strengthening community-based health systems is crucial for preventing zoonotic disease emergence, but also to improve monitoring, response, and control of other communicable diseases (e.g. HIV, malaria, tuberculosis) as local communities serve as the starting point and key contributors to the health surveillance chain.
Harnessing the power of partnerships between stakeholders is crucial to implementing One Health with community-led prevention systems. To pave the way for a healthier planet through a One Health approach, pathways must involve communities, experts, and political leaders. This requires targeted investments to enhance the engagement and empowerment of frontline communities. The collaborative approach is deemed cost-efficient, life-saving, and expedites response times. It advocates for bridging top-down and bottom-up approaches to prevent emerging risks and design relevant health policies aligned with the needs of affected communities.
PREZODE, drawing on the expertise of its members, champions a bottom-up approach in line with the One Health concept.

Modification date : 25 January 2024 | Publication date : 24 January 2024 | Redactor : PREZODE