The past decades have witnessed an increase of infectious epidemics due to the disruption of the human-animal-environment interface, globalisation of movements (trade, animals, and humans), climate change, multiplication of industrial farms with high animal density and rapid urbanization close to wildlife that offer new opportunities for the emergence and spread of diseases.
This is particularly true for vector-borne pathogens that are transmitted by mosquitoes and ticks. Dengue, Zika, Yellow Fever, West Nile and Rift Valley Fever and Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever are only few of the emerging and re-emerging vector-borne diseases (VBDs) that hit our societies in the last decades and their prevalence and distribution is changing due to global and climate changes.
Morever, COVID-19 has demonstrated how a pandemic can abruptly disrupt societies and lead to a global crisis. Therefore, epidemic preparedness is the cornerstone to prevent this from happening again.
Low and middle-income countries suffer from low resources and not enough trained workforce to deal with health and biological challenges. How can they alert, and stop the spreading of emerging pathogens without capacity for early detection of any unusual epidemic event?
The MediLabSecure project, funded by EU through the CBRN excellence initiative, aims to strengthen a network of laboratories and health institutions to prevent vector-borne diseases in 22 countries around the Mediterranean, Balkans, Black Sea, Maghreb and Sahel regions. Enhancing preparedness and response capacities to vector-borne diseases by promoting a One Health approach is the core of MediLabSecure project.
What is the One Health ?
According to WHO, One Health is a cross-disciplinary, collaborative, and unifying approach that aims to sustainably balance and optimize the health of people, animals, and ecosystems.
By linking human, animal, and environmental experts and approaches, One Health can help to address the full spectrum of factors affecting the emergence of zoonotic diseases, facilitating its control – from prevention to detection, preparedness, response, and management – and, as such, can contribute to global health security.