Parasitology and One Health - perspectives on Africa and beyond
This concept paper reviews issues pertaining to parasitic and vector-borne infections, of humans, animals, or both, of topical relevance to the African continent as well as to neighbouring and interconnected geographies. This analysis is carried out through the "One Health" lens, being mindful of the central role of agriculture and livestock keeping in Africa's sustainable development. The possible agricultural transformation that the continent may undergo to fulfil the rising demand for animal protein of its growing population, coupled with the ongoing climate changes, may lead to potentially enhanced interactions among humans, domesticated and wild animals, in a fast-changing environment. In this view, tackling parasitic conditions of livestock can prove being multidimensionally beneficial by improving animal health as well as communities' food security, livelihood and public health. Accordingly, the value of applying the One Health approach to drug discovery and development in the fight against parasitic neglected tropical diseases and zoonoses, is also underscored. Overall, this article upholds the adoption of a holistic, global, interdisciplinary, multisectoral, harmonised and forward-looking outlook, encompassing both life and social sciences, when dealing with parasitic conditions of humans and animals, in Africa and beyond, in COVID-19 times and further.