Dr Pierre Marie Borne explains Ceva’s approach to public health and the importance of forming partnerships to work together, share expertise, tackle zoonoses and improve the human-animal bond.
Questions of public health are central to Ceva’s “Together, beyond animal health” vision. By protecting the health of animals, we also improve the lives of people: securing protein supplies, protecting the population from zoonoses and contributing to more harmonious relations between people and their companion animals in an increasingly urbanized world.
Emerging and developing countries are particularly affected by the impact that zoonoses and disease can have not only on human and animal health, but also in feeding the population. A recent outbreak of avian flu in Mexico caused the slaughter of 27 million birds, reduced poultry product exports by 69%, increased unemployment and triggered a 56% rise in meat prices.
As such, issues of public health are vital to Ceva’s operations as it pursues its goal to work together beyond animal health by tackling zoonoses, feeding the population and strengthening the human-animal bond. Ceva’s continued work in these fields enhances the company’s expertise; whether through knowledge of new or changing diseases, or by helping to develop health strategies that become policy utilised by public authorities under ‘One Health’ initiatives.
Tackling zoonoses and other public health challenges requires cooperation between national health authorities, private biopharmaceutical companies, international institutions such as WHO and OIE, as well as other stakeholders in the livestock production sector. This is because public health issues cover an extremely wide variety of realities – from salmonella infections in the US, Q fever in Europe, brucellosis in China and avian flu worldwide.
While the state has the key role in managing cooperation between those stakeholders involved in livestock production (principally by deciding on the action plans to be rolled out), Ceva considers it important to play its part by providing expertise, guidance, research and by working together at all levels to ensure that not only the right policy is developed but also the right livestock management techniques are employed by vets and farmers.
When it comes to tackling zoonoses, there are two key demands placed on private biopharmaceutical companies:
These demands require not only expertise on the disease in question, but knowledge of the socio-economic context and the ability to successfully cooperate with players at all levels in the chain. For this reason, Ceva established its “Public Health and Zoonoses Department.”
Ceva’s Public Health and Zoonoses Department was set up with the understanding that taking action in public health requires a long-term approach and in-depth understanding and research.
Public health issues require expertise and the ability to collaborate in multidisciplinary teams. We are therefore careful about which projects we choose to get involved in, ensuring that we only work on diseases in which we have genuine expertise and human resource capability, in order to verify that the project is suitable for Ceva.
Investment in public health is not only a key driver within Ceva’s ethos, together, beyond animal health but also presents opportunities for the business. Where returns on investment may not be as easy to calculate as ‘classical business’, over recent years it has helped Ceva to develop new markets for our products and to build new trusting partnerships with governments and veterinary agencies.
And when tackling problems of human health today and in the future, it is that last part which is most important – to all work together.