In a concerted effort to strengthen One Health coordination and collaboration among all key stakeholders, a High-Level National One Health Strategic Plan Development Meeting took place on the 27th of March in Harare, Zimbabwe. Convened under the visionary leadership of Dr .Agnes Mahomva, the Public Health Advisor to the President and Cabinet, in collaboration with the Capacitating One Health in Eastern and Southern Africa (COHESA) programme, the gathering marked a pivotal moment in the nation’s journey towards a more integrated and comprehensive approach to One Health.

Professor Florence Mtambanengwe, Acting Pro-Vice Chancellor and Executive Director Research Innovation and Industrialisation Directorate, at the University of Zimbabwe, set the tone by highlighting the university’s contribution to Zimbabwe’s development blueprint. “Our coming together today signifies a collective resolve in finding lasting solutions to the threats of pandemics that are real for our Nation,” she stated.

Dr. Mahomva, laid out a compelling vision for the future of public health in Zimbabwe.  The Public Health Advisor to the President and Cabinet emphasized the need for “strengthening all public health core capacities to reduce the more than 50% health budget spent on curative services in 2023.”  She highlighted the fact that health was broader than the Ministry responsible for health and a well-coordinated One Health approach was key in preparing for future pandemics. Development and dissemination of a costed One Health Strategic Plan will strengthen this coordination mechanisms.

The engagement witnessed a tapestry of presentations, each contributing to the narrative of Zimbabwe’s journey towards a National One Health Strategic Plan. Key points from other speakers included:

  • The importance of institutionalizing One Health to enhance coordination and efficacy in addressing health challenges through partnerships with government and private partners.
  • Emphasis on the need to bridge institutional gaps, break silos, and foster coordinated action.
  • Urgency of developing a costed action plan with a monitoring and evaluation framework, through wide stakeholder consultation, and the need to initiate and compete the process within a reasonable timeframe.

The meeting emphasized inclusivity and partnership-building, fostering exchanges aimed at strengthening interagency cooperation and mutual trust. Dr. Mahomva urged strengthening successful strategies while discarding ineffective ones.

Zimbabwe is poised to embark on a transformative journey towards developing its first National One Health Strategic Plan. This endeavor, coupled with a strategic bid for the pandemic fund, holds the promise of a brighter, healthier future for all Zimbabweans.

 The project “Capacitating One Health in Eastern and Southern Africa (COHESA) is co-funded by the OACPS Research and Innovation Programme, a programme implemented by the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacifica States (OACPS) with the financial support of the European Union