NGOHP Fellows Discuss One Health in Policy and Governance in the Last Episode of the Juan Health Conversations

To foster interest and a deeper understanding of the One Health approach among Filipinos, the Next Generation One Health Philippines (NGOHP) hosted the Juan Health Conversations, a three-part webinar series that delves into the concepts of One Health and its application in the Philippines. Supported by the International Alliance against Health Risks in Wildlife Trade, NGOHP is one of the projects of the Planetary and Global Health Program (PGHP) of the St. Luke’s Medical Center College of Medicine – William H. Quasha Memorial (SLMCCM-WHQM).

The third and last episode of the Juan Health Conversations series talks about the role of policy and governance in advancing the goals of One Health.

In the third episode, entitled “One Health Policy and Governance,” held last August 28, 2023, the panelists from NGOHP discussed the role of policies and governance in operationalizing the One Health approach:

  • Dr. Emmanuelle Angeles has a bachelor’s degree in Biology and is a graduate of the West Visayas State University’s Doctor of Medicine program. He spearheaded several projects across the three pivotal interfaces of One Health. In the domain of human health, he co-founded an initiative to strengthen the mental health status of Ilonggo youth during the pandemic through a holistic psychosocial intervention. In animal health, he pioneered a youth initiative for the conservation of marine turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) in Manila Bay. Lastly, within the facet of environmental health, he actively participates and volunteers in different environmental education and awareness initiatives.
  • Carlo Lumangaya attained a degree in Public Health at the University of the Philippines Manila. He has had diverse work experience with grassroots work at local levels, technical roles at the subnational and national levels, and development work at the international level. He has also been involved in the management and implementation of projects on infectious diseases of poverty across different disciplines.
  • Ryan John Pascual works as a Project Technical Specialist who conducts science policy-related activities and manages the Special Concerns Program of the National Academy of Science and Technology. He received his MSc Aquaculture degree from Ghent University as a VLIR-UOS scholar and is also taking his second master’s degree in Sustainable Leadership and Governance at the De La Salle University, Dasmariñas. He aims to learn about the dynamics of agritourism, One Health policies, and the implementation of the local government units.

The panelists highlighted the importance of active engagement and equal representation of different stakeholders.

During the discussion, the panelists highlighted the different policies in the Philippines that embody the concepts of One Health, such as the Executive Order No. 168, s. 2014 which led to the creation of the Inter-Agency Task Force Against Emerging Infectious Diseases, the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act (RA 9147), and the Anti-Rabies Act of 2007. While these policies have incorporated the concepts of One Health, they also acknowledged that it has not been fully realized yet and that there is still much to accomplish. They emphasized the need for increased coordination between different sectors, and that by breaking down silos and fostering interdisciplinary collaboration, the One Health approach can be applied more effectively.

Policies also play a pivotal role in One Health interventions. “Policy is the language of governance,” Ryan John Pascual said. It can also be the basis of projects and programs and serve as a catalyst for collaboration between the public and non-government sectors in the country. I believe that with good policy, we can operationalize One Health by translating its principles into concrete actions.”

The panelists also stressed the importance of evidence-based promotion to lobby for a policy. “We [need] to keep doing research to help build on the data needed and to build on the justification,” Carlo Lumangaya said.

However, the process of communicating and implementing the One Health approach is not without challenges. One Health is multisectoral and collaborative so “there may be problem[s] that could arise in differing priorities and objectives of various sectors,” Dr. Emmanuelle Angeles said. But by balancing the interests of stakeholders and emphasizing the positive outcomes of having a shared vision, it becomes possible to bridge the gap between different sectors and advance the goals of One Health.

To conclude the series, Dr. Gail Co, the project coordinator of NGOHP, gave a few closing remarks that encapsulate the essence of Juan Health Conversations. “We have witnessed the power of collaboration and the importance of diverse perspectives. Regardless of our backgrounds, we have learned that each individual has a role to play in promoting One Health. We hope that this series has sparked a newfound awareness of our world, encompassing both people and the planet.”

Check out the other episodes of the Juan Health Conversations below:

For more information, you may visit the NGOHP website or our Facebook page.

The recording of the third episode can be found here.