One Health 2024

In a generation where the urgency of preserving our planet has never been higher, the call to action resounds louder than ever. At Visayas State University (VSU), this call is not merely heard but embraced with fervor and determination.

Through a synergistic partnership, VSU took center stage to promote environmental health using an improved lens with the Philippine One Health University Network (PhilOHUN). This is to encourage #ProudViscans to become architects of a positive and greener environment. 

The University joined forces with PhilOHUN and hosted a thought-provoking seminar entitled "Vet's POV: Expanding the Veterinarian's Perspective on Environmental Health through the One Health Approach" held on May 8, 2024 at the RDE Hall.

One_Health_1.jpgPhoto courtesy of Amaranth

VSU’s principal figures President Dr. Prose Ivy G. Yepes and the newly appointed Vice Presidents Dr. Santiago T. Peña, Jr. for Research, Extension, and Innovation, and Dr. Rotacio S. Gravoso for Academic Affairs graced the said seminar. 

Additionally, attendees were faculty and students from the College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) and the Department of Animal Science. Aside from the VSU participants who attended physically, 49 other participants from the Pampanga State University of Agriculture participated via Zoom.

Esteemed guest experts, including Dr. Bruce Gummow, Professor of Epidemiology and Head of Veterinary Preventive Medicine at James Cook University, Dr. Marcy J. Souza, Professor of Veterinary Public Health and Associate Dean of Outreach and Global Engagement at the University of Tennessee, Dr. Neil Tanquilut, Country Coordinator of PhilOHUN, and Mr. Lorenzo Miguel Marasigan, Program Manager from PhilOHUN, led the series of informative sessions.

The seminar's theme, "Gaining the Right Attitude and Altitude towards Environmental Health and Conservation: A Veterinarian's Perspective," highlighted veterinarians' crucial role in safeguarding the planet. 

This event was a way to promote environmental health and conservation through the One Health Initiative, educate veterinarians on their role in environmental health, and foster collaboration in addressing environmental challenges.

In an interview with Associate Professor Lotis M. Balala, DVM, PhD, from the Department of Veterinary Paraclinical Sciences, she highlighted the increasing importance of the One Health approach, emphasizing its relevance in both preventing and preparing for health emergencies, particularly in the advent of the pandemic.

Dr. Balala pointed out that the seminar, held in collaboration with PhilOHUN, aims to expand knowledge and awareness about One Health within VSU and among local government units in the province of Leyte.

When asked about the need for students to transition from passive recipients of knowledge to active architects of change in Environmental Health and Conservation, she emphasized the urgency of such a shift.

"Yes, they should. In fact, such a role is long overdue. VSU has been advocating environmental conservation since time immemorial. Our students should not only inherit this advocacy but be more aggressive and proactive in implementing initiatives that heal our environment and create an atmosphere that protects health and improves life," Dr. Balala stated.

Furthermore, Viscans were encouraged to initiate the formation of One Health Student Clubs (OHSC) and engage in collaboration with various departments across VSU.

“The College of Veterinary Medicine and other experts from different fields of One Health in the university are here to fully support the creation of VSU's OHSC. Let us stand together and do something for health and the environment.“There is much to do for Mother Earth that can be done one day at a time. We need to act now to heal our environment and overturn the next pandemic,” she added.

The University’s efforts continue to remind us that even the most daunting challenges can be tackled through consistent and collective action. By taking small steps each day towards environmental healing, we can build a healthier planet and safeguard ourselves from future risks.

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