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Human and veterinary medicine: the priority for public health synergies

Author(s): Adriano Mantovani

Journal: Veterinaria Italiana
ISSN 0505-401X

Volume: 44;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 577;
Date: 2008;
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Keywords: Animal | Health | Public health | Medicine | Zoonosis.

The concepts of ‘one medicine’ and 'one ‘health’ are supported and visualised as a tree (medicine), placed on the fertile soil (basic sciences), which divides into the two major branches of human and veterinary medicine, connected by the large branch of public health; minor branches (specialisations) depart from the three larger ones. The synergy between human and veterinary medicine is not only a must for public health, but also implies ethical considerations. The basic reasons requiring synergy are found in the common sharing of the environment, in the use of animal products by humans, in the common culture and in the many problems to be faced together. The long list of adversities requiring synergy is topped by zoonoses (intended both in the classic and in the extended sense) and food safety that extends to many other items connected with nutrition, environment, human/animal coexistence and the management of public health; the entire quality of human life is affected. Human and veterinary medicine have a strong cultural background (many subject matters) in common, but unfortunately the undergraduate and postgraduate education programme (with few important exceptions) do not offer training in cooperation. The synergy between human and veterinary medicines is an indicator of 'good public health practice' and any obstacles to this collaboration should be identified and eliminated. The logo for a public health founded on synergy is drawn as an umbrella formed by the medical and veterinary activities, protecting the population (consumers and producers), the animals and their products and the environment from the possible adversities linked to health.
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