The NEOH handbook provides a seminal interdisciplinary take on One Health, which allows practitioners, evaluators and decision makers from all disciplines to discover new perspectives on health and think about it in a systemic way.
Human health and well-being are increasingly affected by global challenges such as malnutrition, emerging and endemic zoonotic diseases, antimicrobial resistance and climate change. A One Health approach has been proposed to tackle the challenges through accepting that their complexity requires interdisciplinarity.
Several One Health initiatives have been implemented, such as the establishment of cross-sectoral coordination, communication and data sharing mechanisms, but no standardised methodology exists for quantitative evaluation of One Health activities.Therefore the Network for Evaluation of One Health (NEOH) aims to enable future quantitative evaluations of One Health activities and to further the evidence base by developing and applying a science-based evaluation protocol in a community of experts.
Simon Rüegg is co-leading the working group 1, which has the task to develop (1) the overall evaluation framework, (2) a One Health index and (3) a protocol for systematic evaluation of One Health, taking into account various disciplinary perspectives and resulting complexity. Working group 2 is applying the framework, protocol and index to different One Health initiatives (case studies) using primary and secondary datasets. Working group 3 is conducting a meta-analysis of the available case study to facilitate international comparison and the elaboration of policy recommendations. And working group 4 is responsible for seeking a dialogue with national governments, NGOs, research organisations, and industry throughout the project to ensure that the evidence produced addresses decision-makers’ needs.
WG 1 under the lead of Simon Rüegg has produced a methodology to evaluate One Health through an iterative process with WG2 which applied the concepts on real world case studies. First, we characterised One Health (OH) in a participatory process and developed a framework as a systematic approach to evaluate OH. Thereby we were able to demonstrate that OH is clearly aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Consequently, the evaluation framework considers the three pillars of sustainability, namely society, environment and economy, and collects work from multiple disciplines to evaluate knowledge integration (OH-ness) in a OH Initiative. For the OH-ness assessment we provide a questionnaire with semi-quantitative scoring as a working tool. We propose a OH-Index composed of the six aspects OH thinking, OH planning, OH working, sharing, learning and systemic organisation, and a OH-Ratio assessing the relation of the first three operative aspects to the later three infrastructural aspects. We also provide a guide to implement knowledge integration throughout the policy cycle as a mean of OH governance.
The body of work contributed by WG1 has been published in parts as individual scientific manuscripts and in total as an Open Access handbook with supplementary electronic working materials: https://www.wageningenacademic.com/doi/book/10.3920/978-90-8686-875-9.
WG 2 under the lead of Sara Saviç has published eight case studies in which the NEOH methodology was applied. They range from the assessment of an animal welfare center in Macedonia, the control of Brucellosis in Malta and Serbia to the evaluation of an initiative of the University of Copenhagen to tackle anti-microbial resistances. All case studies are published as a Frontiers Research Topic and is available as e-book.
The project outcomes have been received well in the one health community. Simon Rüegg was invited to present the framework at the Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity in 2018. One health is recommended to the signatories as a way to align efforts for improved health and conservation of biodiversity.
The network of people involved in NEOH has been perpetuated as the Network for Ecohealth and One Health as a regional chapter of Ecohealth International.