Developing a One Health Approach by Using a Multi-Dimensional Matrix

Developing a One Health Approach by Using a Multi-Dimensional Matrix

Author(s): Laura H. Kahn

Publication Date: 2021


The One Health concept that human, animal, plant, environmental, and ecosystem health are linked provides a framework for examining and addressing complex health challenges. This framework can be represented as a multi-dimensional matrix that can be used as a tool to identify upstream drivers of disease potential in a concise, systematic, and comprehensive way. The matrix can involve up to four dimensions depending on users’ needs. This paper describes and illustrates how the matrix tool might be used to facilitate systems thinking, enabling the development of effective and equitable public policies. The multidimensional One Health matrix tool will be used to examine, as an example, global human and animal fecal wastes. The fecal wastes are analyzed at the microbial and population levels over a timeframe of years. Political, social, and economic factors are part of the matrix and will be examined as well. The One Health matrix tool illustrates how foodborne illnesses, food insecurity, antimicrobial resistance, and climate change are inter-related. Understanding these inter-relationships is essential to develop the public policies needed to achieve many of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

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