Explain the concept of ‘One Health’ and its relevance in addressing emerging infectious diseases. Analyze how the recently launched ‘National One Health Mission’ strengthens India’s capacity to respond to disease outbreaks and improve overall pandemic preparedness.


The Union Cabinet has approved the creation of a post of director of the National Institute for One Health, who will also serve as the mission director for the ‘National One Health Mission’.


  • Introduce your answer by defining “One Health” as the integrative approach linking human, animal, and environmental health.
  • In the main body, discuss the relevance of One Health in addressing zoonotic diseases prevention, antimicrobial resistance, environmental health, etc. Next address how the ‘National One Health Mission’ enhances disease surveillance, joint outbreak response, R&D, and global collaboration for improved pandemic preparedness.
  • Conclude by affirming that adopting the One Health approach and the implementation of the National One Health Mission positions India to effectively tackle health challenges, ensuring a healthier future for all.


The “One Health” approach recognizes the interconnectedness of human health, animal health, and the environment – diseases can readily flow between humans, animals, and the environment.  This interconnectedness necessitates a holistic approach to public health, one that transcends traditional silos and fosters collaboration across disciplines. It encourages the development of policies and practices that promote a balanced ecosystem, ensuring the health and well-being of all living things in harmony with the environment.

Relevance of One Health Approach:

  • Zoonotic Diseases Prevention: A significant percentage of new and existing human infectious diseases are zoonotic, originating from animals. The One Health approach is crucial in identifying and mitigating these diseases at their source.
    • Covid-19 Pandemic and Nipah virus outbreak.
  • Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR): is a growing threat that transcends species and environments, exacerbated by the misuse of antibiotics in humans, animals, and agriculture. A One Health strategy facilitates coordinated actions to reduce the emergence and spread of AMR.
  • Environmental Health: The One Health approach integrates environmental conservation efforts with health strategies to combat issues like vector-borne diseases and heat-related illnesses.
    • Efforts to combat malaria and dengue fever incorporate strategies addressing water management and climate change mitigation.
  • Food Safety and Security: Ensuring the safety of the food supply chain from farm to table requires a One Health approach, addressing risks of contamination, and disease from production, processing, and distribution stages.
    • Monitoring and control of foodborne pathogens such as Salmonella and E. coli.
  • Enhances Public Health Preparedness and Response: by facilitating cross-sectoral collaboration and resource sharing among public health, veterinary, and environmental science professionals.
  • Supports Sustainable Development: by promoting practices that are beneficial to the health of people, animals, and the environment, thereby contributing to poverty reduction, hunger eradication, and ensuring healthy lives.
  • Global Health Security: In an increasingly interconnected world, health threats in one part of the globe can rapidly affect others. The One Health approach is essential for facilitating international cooperation and capacity building to detect, assess, report, and respond to public health threats.
    • During India’s G-20 presidency, this approach was widely endorsed by all members.

National One Health MissionStrengthening Disease Outbreak Response and Pandemic Preparedness:

  • Integrated disease surveillance:The Mission aims to create a unified system for monitoring diseases across human, animal, and environmental sectors. This allows for early detection of outbreaks with zoonotic potential.
  • Enhancing Epidemiology and Data Analytics: Utilizing AI, machine learning, and genomic surveillance to strengthen disease detection and monitoring.
    • Expansion of genomic surveillance from wastewater to broader disease sets.
  • High-risk pathogen laboratories network:A network of BSL-3 and BSL-4 labs will improve national biosecurity and enable faster diagnosis of high-risk pathogens across sectors.
  • Joint outbreak response:Different ministries (Health, Animal Husbandry, Environment) will collaborate for faster and more effective outbreak responses. This can help contain outbreaks before they become widespread.
  • Strengthened R&D:The Mission fosters collaboration between government (DBT, CSIR, ICMR), academia, and the private sector for developing diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutics for emerging diseases. This rapid response capability is crucial for pandemics.
  • National Institute for One Health: will serve as the national nodal agency for coordinating “One Health” activities, fostering information sharing and joint action plans.
    • Located in Nagpur, it will facilitate collaboration and information sharing.

The ‘National One Health Mission’ represents a paradigm shift towards a holistic health governance model, integrating human, animal, and environmental health strategies. By addressing the interconnectedness, India is positioning itself to respond more effectively to disease outbreaks and enhance its pandemic preparedness, moving closer to the vision of ‘One Earth, One Health’ and achieving ‘Health for All’.

‘+1’ Value Addition:

  • It is not just humans who are affected by pandemics but also livestock — an example being the outbreak of lumpy skin disease that has spread across countries.
  • In July 2022, the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology, and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC) endorsed the setting up of the ‘National One Health Mission’.
  • The approach to One Health is more a journey than a destination.
Scroll to Top