What could COVID-19 teach us about One Health?

Date: Thursday, 14 May 2020
20:30 SAST, CAT | 21:30 EAT | 19:30 BST | 14:30 EST | 20:30 CET 
Hashtag: #hcsmSA 

Moderator: @hcsmSA
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Join us for a 60-minute Twitter chat to share your views about lessons learned for One Health during the COVID-19 pandemic using the hashtag #hcsmSA. All stakeholders including entrepreneurs, healthcare providers, patients, NGO’s, policymakers, payers, journalists, educators, nurses, medical researchers, IT developers, data scientists and students etc. locally and globally are welcome. The public transcript will be recorded by Symplur.


T1: What do you think COVID-19 could teach us about One Health?

T2: Which diseases do you think would benefit from a One Health approach?

T3: Which stakeholders are important in making One Health possible, and how?

T4: How do you think digital innovation could benefit One Health?

T5: What barriers are there to implementing One Health? (e.g. capacity building)

CT: (Closing Thoughts): Is there anything you feel is important to add to this conversation?

Start your answers with T1, T2, T3, T4, T5 or CT for transcript purposes
Answer only after the moderator prompts. Questions will be prompted every 8-10 minutes, but keep answers coming using the relevant T and number. Introduce yourself if you are joining. Use the #hcsmSA hashtag in all tweets so you are visible to others in the chat as well as on the Symplur transcript afterwards. Please also include any of the other COVID-19 hashtags such as #COVID19 and #CoronaVirus or alternatively #OneHealth.

In February 2018, hcsmSA moderated a Twitter chat about One Health to highlight the complexities of an interconnected world which impact health and disease, in this chat, we explore that topic further in terms of lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic. [1]

One Health is a collaborative, multisectoral and transdisciplinary approach—working at the local, regional, national and global levels—with the goal of achieving optimal health outcomes recognizing the interconnection between people, animals, plants and their shared environment. [2] One Health issues include zoonotic diseases, antimicrobial resistance, food safety and food security, vector-borne diseases, environmental contamination and other health threats. The underlying premise is that the health and well-being of the human population will be more and more difficult to maintain on a polluted planet suffering from social or political instability and ever-diminishing resources.

The global Coronavirus 2019 pandemic (COVID-19) was first reported on 31 December 2019 by the World Health Organization country office following a cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China. [3] COVID-19 is a zoonotic disease, meaning the virus originated in an animal which then spread to a human. Some diseases, such as rabies, cause sporadic outbreaks, often self-contained but deadly and traumatising for the communities they infect. Other zoonotic diseases like COVID-19 manage to spread worldwide and become pandemic, circulating in the global population. [4]

The concept of using a One Health approach isn’t only important to infectious diseases, but also for non-communicable chronic diseases linked to exposure to multiple stresses, including toxic stress and new lifestyle diseases like diabetes, cancer, heart diseases, rare diseases and mental health. [5]

Digital technology could be one solution to implementing One Health, for example, surveillance can build new understandings, provide holistic ways of seeing issues and develop solutions. Surveillance data can be aggregated from a number of places including mobile applications. [6] Telemedicine and electronic health records (EHR) are additional technologies that can help to improve interdisciplinarily, patient-centered care and co-ordination, albeit bearing in mind privacy policies and other logistics in different countries. [7]

As scientists start to understand the importance of a One Health approach to break down silos in our systems, hopefully, we are able to focus less on a classic model of care which in the past has treated the disease instead of the patient and rather we learn to use a holistic, evolutionary perspective to tackle diseases like COVID-19, as mother nature intended.



  1. Chats are public. Even if you use a platform like tchat.io, they still show on your timeline. Think before you tweet! Read more about maintaining a good digital footprint here.
  2. Please respect other members of the community and show courtesy at all times.
    Refer to the Twitter Terms and Conditions of use. Disrespectful behaviour can be reported.
  3. Don’t be afraid to lurk, although participation is always encouraged, even if the topic is not within your expertise, your voice matters.
  4. Visit www.symplur.com to check out the analytics and transcript which is open to the public.
  5. If you don’t understand a question from the moderator, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for clarity!
  6. Use this opportunity to network with other stakeholders and follow them on Twitter.
  7. When entering the Twitter chat, first introduce yourself and tell other members what you do so they get to know you.
  8. If you agree with a members perspective in a chat, go ahead and retweet (RT) them to show you support their idea.
  9. The chat runs for 60 minutes, but you can join in at any time.
  10. Start answers with the relevant T’s and number for transcript purposes.
  11. Answer each question after the moderator prompts but keep answers coming even if we move onto the next one. We don’t want to miss out on your views!
  12. Both panel experts and attendees are invited to participate because everyone’s perspective counts.
  13. Use the hashtag (#hcsmSA) in all of your tweets or you won’t be visible in the chat.
  14. More information about how to participate in a Twitter chat can be read here

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