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Submitted by Katherine Bliss on

Hi Patricio, Thanks for this post. The Ebola outbreak in West Africa does reinforce the importance of multi-sector engagement embedded in the One Health approach. Of course, it can be challenging enough to get the human health and domestic animal health experts collaborating. It is often much more difficult to facilitate communication between the health sector and agencies charged with addressing wildlife management or environmental planning. Outbreaks like the current one serve as important reminders that emergency planning exercises, routine communications, and confidence-building activities among the various health and environment actors at all levels are essential to anticipate problems and enable fruitful collaboration when emergencies do occur.

The outbreak – and the number of health care providers who have become infected -- also underscore the importance of making improved water, sanitation facilities, and hygiene materials available at all health care facilities – from the community clinic to the district hospital. All too often one hears that installation of WASH facilities is not the health institution’s responsibility or must be funded from a different pot of money. Governments and development partners can implement policies that all new health facilities built or supported must count on adequate WASH facilities, and they can develop a schedule to retrofit older ones, as well.