Letter to the editor.


09-08-2020 – 14:54

By Nicolás Galarce, Head of the Una Salud Commission at the University of Veterinary Medicine (Colmevet)

In recent days, the role of veterinarians in the current COVID-1

9 pandemic has been questioned. Unfortunately, many people are not aware that the profession or profession of veterinary medicine dates back to more than 2000 years before Christ and has been and is a fundamental player in the development of human society. The historical journey in this profession has brought man closer and closer to the animal world, at first a source of food, protection and protection.

At present, veterinary medicine is a profession that focuses not only on the protection and promotion of animal health, but also on sustainable food production, food safety, detection and control of zoonotic infections, epidemiology and public health, substances that directly or indirectly affect human well-being. current pandemic. For this, veterinarians have learning skills in areas that are common to other healthcare professionals, such as microbiology, virology, pharmacology, environmental health, epidemiology, disease control, among others. Therefore, various veterinary professionals have integrated (and are integrating to date) multidisciplinary teams under the One Health Strategy, a concept proposed more than 30 years ago that recognizes the relevance of maintaining health in the animal interface. environmentalists, ie a cross-sectional health perspective.

Therefore, it is not surprising that these professionals are integrated into teams from various international health organizations, as is the case with Dr. Luis Fernando Leanes, Argentine veterinary epidemiologist currently representing the PAHO / WHO in Chile, Dr. Monique Eloit, Director General of OIE, Dr. Peter Ben Embarek, coordinator of the WHO’s international network of food safety authorities, among others.
At the national level, notable cases of Dr. Eduardo Fuenzalida, who contributed to public health in the world with the creation of the Fuenzalida-Palacios vaccine for the control of rabies, and by Dr. Gerhardt Schurig with his RB51 vaccine for the control of rabies bovine brucellosis, both diseases that have a major impact on public health because they are zoonotic pathogens. In addition, various veterinarians practice and contribute from strategic positions in national health, for example Dr. Judith Mora, Deputy Director of the Institute of Public Health, and Dr. Bárbara Hott, Head of the Zoonosis Office at the Ministry of Health.
The foregoing highlights the key role of veterinarians as critical professionals in maintaining global public health. In this context, the OIE recommends that current health problems be treated according to the One Health concept, and shows that human health and animal health are interdependent and linked to the ecosystems in which they interact, which was ratified in January this year under the “Infection Reporting Regulation” diseases with mandatory declaration and its monitoring “, MINSAL, Supreme Decree No. 7 for 2019. For these reasons, the University of Veterinary Medicine of Chile in July 2019 succeeded in the Chamber of Deputies approving the proposal to modify the health code, which considers these professionals as part of the health field and highlights the role they play in various dimensions, both in animal care and in the health ecosystem.

These foundations confirm that it is a great mistake not to recognize the capabilities created in veterinary medicine aimed at tackling health problems with an epidemiological approach to control, especially in the face of these new animal epidemics. Unfortunately, with surprise and concern, we have seen the publication of small journalistic opinions, perhaps out of ignorance, that undermine the veterinary technical-scientific ability to face health situations like this and others in the future.

In this critical moment that the country and all of humanity are experiencing, it is important that media professionals make their assessments responsibly and never forget their educational role. Poor information, sensationalism, non-constructive criticism and discrediting only contribute to creating mistrust in the population and threaten the success of control measures against this pandemic.

Various health care professionals, the authorities, the media and society as a whole have a huge challenge. Many people’s future and lives depend on our ability to work as a team, to overcome mistakes and difficulties, and above all on the commitment to give the best of our abilities.

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