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One Health: Connecting Humans, Animals and the Environment

Become familiar with One Health, a promising concept, and the effective solutions it provides for urgent health problems.

10,893 enrolled on this course

A human left looks at a goat right, in the backdrop the abstract globe of the earth
  • Duration

    6 weeks
  • Weekly study

    5 hours

Expand how you address health issues, learning from top One Health experts.

In today’s globalised world, old diseases persist and new illnesses spread faster than ever thanks to interconnected ecosystems and the close ties between humans and animals. Stressing this interrelatedness, One Health calls for closer cooperation between human and animal health. This course explores how One Health works in practice, bringing together different scientific perspectives. You will, for instance, study vaccination coverage data and discuss food safety enhancement. You learn how to calculate the added value resulting from the One Health approach using case studies.

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  • Week 1

    Theoretical foundations of One Health

    • What is One Health?

      Investigate the manifold relationships we have to animals and get to know the educators of this course.

    • How do humans relate to animals?

      Decide upon which animals you would take with you to a deserted island and explore with other learners different attitudes towards animals.

    • What influences the human – animal relationship?

      Explore how culture and religion influence the human-animal relationship and discuss the relevant ethical issues with other learners.

    • How do human and veterinary medicine relate to each other?

      Read about how the human-animal relationship influences the way we deal with human and animal health. Get to know possible shortfalls if health systems are not linked to each other.

    • Why One Health makes sense

      Read about the history of One Health. Taking the example of Q fever, investigate how One Health works and what added value arises from this method.

  • Week 2

    One Health quantitative methods

    • Identify the added value of One Health

      Explore the benefits that are gained when human and animal health professionals work together in a systematic way. Check your understanding of the One Health concept.

    • Discover interfaces between humans and animals

      Investigate how infectious diseases may spread between wildlife, domesticated animals and humans. Find a human-animal interface and share your thoughts about it with your fellow learners.

    • How do we assess the added value?

      In this activity you investigate matrix models to calculate One Health effects. Train your understanding of these methods with a quiz.

    • How to assess infectious diseases transmitted between humans and animals

      You explore a simple animal-human disease transmission model, detecting the principles of transmission dynamics. You investigate these as you use a spreadsheet in order to calculate with specific and exemplary numbers.

    • What are cross-sector economics?

      Discover the fundamental principles of cross-sector economics and deepen your understanding of quantitative methods in One Health.

  • Week 3

    One Health case studies I: One Health in practice

    • How to assess rabies control options: practise what you have learned

      In this activity you will deepen your understanding about rabies and apply what you discovered about transmission diagnosis, control and prevention.

    • Principles of rabies economics

      Discover how the social and private costs of rabies are closely related to the costs in the animal and public health sectors.

    • Companion animals – more than just companions

      Delve into pet assisted therapy and examine how it can improve health and well-being for humans.

    • Linking food to human health

      In this activity you explore the impacts of animal source food on human health – the negative ones as well as the positive ones.

    • How people, markets, institutions and laws shape food production for livelihoods

      Discuss with your fellow students processes to mitigate food risks. Learn about legal aspects and control systems for food safety and the importance of locally adapted risk reduction measures, particularly in informal markets.

  • Week 4

    One Health qualitative and mixed methods

    • Socio-cultural aspects in One Health

      In this activity you discover why socio-cultural aspects in One Health are of great importance and why different perspectives on the same story give us a fuller picture of the realities involved.

    • How to assess qualitative aspects

      Find out more about the discipline of medical anthropology and learn to differentiate between quantitative and qualitative methods.

    • Engage with non-academics?

      In this activity you discover why it is important not only to engage with academics but also with non-academics, eg communities, local authorities or policy makers.

  • Week 5

    One Health case studies II

    • Summarising and relating One Health methods

      Recapitulate the One Health methods from week two and four and discover how quantitative and qualitative methods are used interactively.

    • How can we measure human and animal vaccination coverage?

      Investigate how human and animal vaccination coverage can be measured and discuss the importance of the denominator or reference population.

    • What is health and demographic surveillance?

      In this activity you will delve into the principles of health and demographic surveillance. Assess your understanding of these principles in a quiz.

    • How can we adapt health and demographic surveillance to humans and their livestock?

      Acquire insights in modern real-time syndromic surveillance and aetiological confirmation of infectious diseases at the animal-human interface. Submit ideas how to plan a campaign to fight dog rabies in your country.

  • Week 6

    Beyond One Health: ecosystem approaches to health and summary of course

    • Beyond One Health: towards ecosystem approaches to health

      In this activity you will explore other fields of One Health application. Discuss with your fellow students institutional steps to establish an integrated antimicrobial resistance surveillance and its potential economic savings.

    • What is Eco Health?

      Explore an Eco Health example and a One Health impact assessment. Check your knowledge of these issues in a quiz.

    • Challenge your understanding of added value facets addressing the example of rabies

      Learn about the trade-off between different control strategies of rabies from a transmission perspective as a key example of a One Health approach. Discuss your experiences with rabies.

    • Reaching the goal – and beyond

      In this final activity you will be given a short summary of the main learning objectives of this course. The educators thank you for participating in this free online course.

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

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Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Summarise the many advantages of a closer cooperation between human and animal health.
  • Describe the fundamental principles of cross-sector human and animal health economics.
  • Explain how the transmission of diseases from livestock to human via food can be prevented.
  • Discuss the environmental policy and law that supports food safety.
  • Debate how food safety can benefit from One Health.
  • Develop ideas for transdisciplinary processes that can solve an everyday One Health problem.
  • Reflect on the problems that arise from poor communication between human doctors and veterinarians.
  • Investigate social-ecological perspectives for the improvement of human and animal well-being.
  • Identify the rabies problem in the World and the potential for its elimination in Africa.
  • Investigate through practical case studies the collection of vaccination coverage data.
  • Calculate matrices to describe growth rates of populations.
  • Interpret tables of vaccination coverage data.
  • Calculate transmission dynamics of diseases between humans and animals

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone with an interest in the relationship between humans and animals in different cultures.

You don’t need any prior knowledge of human or veterinary medicine to benefit from thise course. It will be useful for non-professionals as well as health professionals and those working in politics, NGOs, and students of veterinary and human medicine throughout the world.

What software or tools do you need?

To take part in this course it is helpful to have access to a spreadsheet calculation program. However, you may also calculate the examples by hand on paper.

What do people say about this course?

"This was the best One Health course I have experienced so far, and I will absolutely recommend it to everyone. "

Who will you learn with?

Professor of Epidemiology at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute and the University of Basel, Switzerland.

I'm a vet by training and now the leader of the Mobile Populations and Health research group of the Human and Animal Health Studies unit at Swiss TPH. I mainly work in Africa, Asia and Switzerland.

Veterinary-Epidemiologist, working in the area of capacity building in One Health by addressing risk analysis and zoonoses control and elimination pathways in Africa.

Who developed the course?

University of Basel

The University of Basel has an international reputation of outstanding achievements in research and teaching.

Endorsers and supporters

content provided by

Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute logo

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