Fact CheckHealth

Is Nigeria first country to launch One Health Strategic Plan in Africa?

Claim: Nigeria is the first country in Africa to launch the One Health Strategic Plan.

False! Our findings show Nigeria is not the first country in Africa to launch the One Health Strategic Plan because we found other countries with plans released earlier. 

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Climate change has become a major discussion in the world with different stakeholders brainstorming on how best to mitigate its effect. One of these efforts birthed what is now known as One Health. This is an approach by countries to design and implement programmes, policies, legislation and research for multiple sectors to communicate and work together towards achieving better public health outcomes.

While the term “One Health” is fairly new, the concept has been in existence for a long time and has been recognised globally. It can be traced to when the link between human and animal health was established between 1821 to 1902.

One Health became a recommended approach and  political reality in 2008 when representatives from more than 120 countries and 26 international and regional organisations attended the 2008 International Ministerial Conference on Avian and Pandemic Influenza in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

The first One Health Summit was held in Davos, Switzerland in 2012 and has subsequently gained recognition globally as an effective way to fight health issues at the human-animal-environment interface, including zoonotic diseases. 

African ministers of health and environment demonstrated an early commitment to One Health when they signed the Libreville Declaration at the first Inter-Ministerial Conference on Health and Environment in 2008 and subsequently endorsed a 10-year Strategic Action Plan to scale up health and environment interventions in Africa from 2019 to 2029 at the third Inter-Ministerial Conference in 2018.

On Wednesday, April 20, 2022, during the the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID Master Class on health, environment and climate change reporting, the centre’s health program officer, Adebowale Adedigba, said Nigeria’s health minister of state health, Adeleke Mamora, claims Nigeria is the first country in Africa to launch the one health strategic plan. 

Did the minister actually make this claim? If yes, how true is this claim? This prompted us to verify this claim. 

Verification

To establish if the minister made this claim at any point, we conducted a keyword search and found a report by reliefweb which noted the minister said this at the launch of the plan in 2019.

“Nigeria has developed a One Health strategic plan to meet its human, animal and environmental health challenges. This approach drives innovations that are important to manage the outbreaks we experience and offers synergy across our various ministries. We hope that the implementation of this plan in Nigeria can serve as a model for other African countries,” the report quoted the minister.

Another report by Business Day also quoted the minister as saying the same thing. 

Having established the minister said this, we needed to know if this narrative is true so we searched for other African countries’ One Health plan and when they were created or launched. 

This article looks at the successes and future challenges of One Health in the African context using three countries; Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda so we searched for the three countries.

Nigeria’s one health strategic plan which is an 80 page document, is a five year plan from 2019 to 2023.

Screenshot of Nigeria’s one health strategic plan document. 

We found out that Tanzania has a 66 page One Health plan from 2015-2020.

Screenshot of Tanzania’s one health strategic plan document. 

We also found Uganda has a one health plan for 2018-2022. The 52 page document is a product of a collaboration between Uganda’s Ministry of Health (MoH), Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE) with financial and technical support from United States Agency for International Development (USAID)/EPT-2 Preparedness and Response (P&R) Project.

Screenshot of Uganda’s one health plan document. 

Looking at these documents by the three countries, we can see Tanzania had its One Health document in 2015, followed by Uganda in 2018 before Nigeria’s 2019-2023 plan. 

Conclusion

Our findings show Nigeria is not the first country in Africa to launch the One Health plan because we found one health plan documents by Tanzania in 2015 and Uganda in 2018.

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