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Ambassador of One Health?

At this time, acutely aware of our own vulnerability to Covid-19, there is the faint hope that the pandemic might shift our attidude to the multivarious world around us: offering (another) chance to expand our understanding of health beyond our own skins. Just such is One Health (supported by the UN and WHO), which from its Wikipedea entry sounds like another toothless international objective, too slow and cumbersome to be effective. It lies at the intersection of human, environmental and animal health, and promotes the need to think of these three together; focussing on the cross over between human and animal so words beginning zoo- abound: zoology, zoonotic and zoobiquity. (Obviously AMR plays an important role in all of this.) But when it comes to something so broad, so all encompassing, so fundamental as One Health, nothing less than a good story has the power to shift things. Do we really have to be ejected from the Garden of Eden a second time, or can we find a new narrative? Surrounded by death and destruction, Hugh Lofting chose not to recount what he saw around him in the trenches but instead to fill letters to his children with a zoological story (including hand drawn illustrations) about a certain Dr. Doolittle. Later portrayed by Eddie Murphy, Robert Downey Jr. (the less said about that the better) and Rex Harrison, Doolittle embodies just such an alternative: let’s talk to the animals. [Ed: this AMR fellowship is doing your head in. I wouldn’t suggest to those scientist that they should talk to their bacteria!]

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