A multi-disciplinary study led by NUS Medicine researchers has identified the need to address a possible gap in the global approach to dealing with infectious diseases such as SARS, the bird flu and H5N1 influenza. The team conducted an in-depth survey of leading practitioners of human and animal health in Singapore. From their findings, they argue that it may be unjust to implement policies and strategies that aim to address these threats in ways that may unfairly burden animals or rural communities (through, for example, culling), and threaten to disrupt the biodiversity of ecological systems here and elsewhere.
The research led by infectious disease specialists, veterinarians, public health practitioners, biologists and a bioethicist is presented in a seminal paper, the first such to be published worldwide. In the paper, titled Justice is the Missing Link in One Health: Results of a Mixed Methods Study in an Urban City State, Professor Paul Tambyah and Dr Michele Bailey of NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, and Dr Tamra Lysaght of the Centre of Biomedical Ethics, relate the concepts of justice in healthcare to One Health, a framework adopted in Singapore over the last decade by the Ministry of Health (MOH), the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) and the National Environmental Agency (NEA). One Health calls for a collaborative effort among the veterinary, medical, and ecological sciences to “attain optimal health for people, animals and our environment.” The study has already been viewed more than 800 times in the weeks since its publication.
Read more at NUS Highlights.