One Health approach ꓽ Afrique One-ASPIRE assists ECOWAS in the development of a governance manual and a regional strategy

3 November 2022

The strategy and the governance manual of the regional coordination mechanisms of the ECOWAS “One Health” approach  workshop was held from 31 October to 02 November 2022, in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire as a prelude to the World One Health Day,

Professor Bassirou Bonfoh, Director General of Afrique One-ASPIRE consortium, Dr. Adou Djané and Dr. Fokou Gilbert, members of the consortium, assisted ECOWAS, together with the GIZ team, in the elaboration of a regional strategy and a governance manual of the regional coordination mechanisms of the ECOWAS “One Health” approach.

In view of the expertise demonstrated by Afrique One-ASPIRE, in the operationalisation of One Health, we were asked as scientists to accompany them in the drafting of the governance manual and the strategic plan. It took us almost two months to get to this stage. With the coordination, the ECOWAS One Health platform and the GIZ team, we were able to define a synthesis document that is based on all the documents we have had so far“, Professor Bassirou Bonfoh.

The epidemiological context of West Africa is characterised by recurrent epidemics of infectious diseases that represent a significant burden for the affected countries. The “One Health” approach, despite disparate mechanisms, is not yet sufficiently established in the West African region.

Health being transnational, it was therefore necessary to find mechanisms at national level to operationalise the One Health platforms and to find a mechanism at regional level.  The governance manual will formalise the functioning of these platforms at national and regional level“, Dr Adou Djané.

Stakeholders of the One Health approach from the 15 ECOWAS countries and their partners represented at this workshop had the opportunity to review the regional strategy and the governance manual of the regional coordination mechanisms proposed by the Afrique One-ASPIRE team. In different working group sessions, they provided input and gathered additional information needed to finalise the two documents.

I must congratulate the quality of these documents, which have effectively mapped, positioned and identified the problem in a short space of time, and given us some ideas on which the countries have contributed. The preliminary work requires a lot of energy. It is not often recognised, but it must be said that it is the conception, the first draft that is the most important because it is easier to start from something“, Dr. Brice LAFIA, moderator of the group sessions.


For ECOWAS, this harmonised and consensual governance manual is a very important tool. 

This document will enable ECOWAS not only to strengthen regional health security in the face of major health problems, including zoonotic disease outbreaks such as Ebola, Lassa, COVID-19. But also to address the challenge of other emerging threats such as climate change and the security and food crisis“, Dr Melchior AÏSSI, Director General of the West African Health Organisation.

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