History was made in the development of One Health in Jamaica on November 4, 2018 when the Caribbean College of Family Physicians Jamaica Chapter and the Jamaica Veterinary Medical Association held a joint 1-day conference in observance of One Health Day 2018. It marked the first time in Jamaica that human and veterinary medical organizations came together to explore some of the linkages and parallels between human and animal health as part of the all-encompassing One Health arena.

International One Health Day is celebrated every year on November 3, having been initiated in 2016. Its goal is to build the cultural will necessary for a sea change in how planetary health challenges are assessed and addressed. It puts the spotlight on the need for One Health interactions and allows the world to see them in action. Related events are not necessarily held on the day itself.

While One Health has been long advocated and supported by the veterinary profession, it is still a relatively new concept to many human health professionals. The CCFP has embraced One Health and is committed to contributing to its growth in Jamaica and the region.

This conference explored wellness, zoonotic diseases, the management of dog bites and screwworm myiasis, along with the One Health issue of the keeping of dogs, their behaviour and population control.

Topics included:

  • An overview of One Health history (Dr. Paul Cadogan, veterinarian)

  • Wellness for Heath Professionals (Dr. Aldyth Buckland, physician and CCFP-Ja President)

  • Rabies in the Caribbean (Dr. Janine Seetahal, veterinarian, via internet from Trinidad)

  • Rabies surveillance and Jamaican bats (Dr. Susan Koenig, wildlife ecologist)

  • Influenza across the Species (Prof. Chris Oura, veterinary virologist, via internet from Trinidad)

  • Leptospirosis, a One Health Approach (Dr. Rayon Gregory, veterinarian)

  • The Management of Dog Bites in Humans (Dr. Guyan Arscott, plastic surgeon)

  • Screwworm infestations in animals and humans (Dr. Paul Cadogan)

  • Dogs: Dangerous Breeds or Responsible Ownership (Dr. Matthew Brown, veterinarian)

The conference was held at the Alhambra Inn in Kingston under the kind sponsorship of Hazpro  Medical Waste Management, Cari-Med/Purina, World Brands/Pedigree, and Hi-Pro Farm Supplies with exhibits mounted by the Veterinary Services Division and the Ministry of Health.

The conference room was filled to capacity with over 100 physicians, veterinarians, allied health professionals, paraprofessionals and students. Robust discussions followed each presentation and both associations are keen to repeat and build on the success in 2019.