Brief Report

One Health Approach Response Planning During COVID-19: During Action Review and Tabletop – Bangladesh

by Uzzaman M Salim1, Shirin T1*, Alamgir ASM1, Rahman M1, Mushtuq Husain M1, Divi N2, McNeil C2

1IEDCR, DGHS, Bangladesh.

2Ending Pandemics, USA.

*Corresponding author: Uzzaman M Salim , IEDCR, DGHS, Bangladesh.

Received Date: 06 November, 2023

Accepted Date: 13 November 2023

Published Date: 15 November, 2023

Citation: Uzzaman M Salim, Shirin T, Alamgir ASM, Rahman M, Mushtuq Husain M, et al. (2023) One Health Approach Response Planning During COVID-19: During Action Review and Tabletop - Bangladesh. Rep Glob Health Res 6: 175.


From the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in January 2020, the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) in Bangladesh built upon its strong One Health foundation to work across sectors in the pandemic response. This case study brings to light how IEDCR employed a ‘One Health’ approach to evaluating COVID-19 pandemic response using a unique methodology, the ‘During Action Review and Table-top Exercise (DART)’. DART allowed IEDCR to review readiness and resiliency to COVID-19 from retrospective and prospective perspectives. The  summary report will share the importance in taking a One Health approach to evaluate COVID-19 pandemic response. DART facilitated participant-led identification of opportunities for further transdisciplinary expert collaboration and provided a means to the government for improving understanding of challenges faced within each sector. Specifically, IEDCR the lead agency for pandemic response under Director General Health Services (DGHS), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Bangladesh identified needs related to strengthening of Points of Entry (POEs), multisectoral engagement, capacity building trainings (Epidemiology, Labs & Service providers), arrangements for quarantine & isolation facilities, and enhancing SARS-CoV-2 PCR testing capacity through bringing on board the PCR capacity of laboratories of Department of Health, Department of Livestock Services, Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute (BLRI), Veterinary University and other universities and institutions with molecular testing capacity.


The benefit of a transdisciplinary approach to evaluate pandemic response, the ‘One Health’ evaluation of COVID-19 pandemic response took into consideration the roles, responsibilities, readiness and resiliency among multiple disciplinary sectors in Bangladesh. Bringing together the Departments of Health Services, Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), Communicable Disease Control Unit of DGHS, IHR Team, Immunization Program, Infectious Disease Hospital in Dhaka, Dhaka and Manikgonj Medical College Hospitals, Department of Livestock Services, Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute, Chittagong Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, One Health Institute Chittagong, Forest Department, Civil Aviation, Religious Affairs Ministry, Security forces, the icddr’b and other relevant departments/sectors is an immense task.

Effective response requires understanding of challenges and strengths among and within each sector and discipline; however, often response evaluation focuses within a given field and not across fields. The DART was coordinated through ‘One Health Secretariat (OHS)’. This ‘During Action Review and Table-top Exercise (DART)’ is a new and novel approach, can be deployed to provide a prospective and retrospective analyses of multisectoral response to outbreaks. It highlights how a One Health, transdisciplinary evaluation helped IEDCR (OH Lead agency) learn the process to trigger timely response and align the sectoral coordination as and when required. It uncovered the challenges and strengths faced during COVID-19 response across and among multiple disciplines.

Background and Context

In Bangladesh, One-Health ‘conception, initiation and action’ started after the Chittagong Declaration on “One World One Health”-Bangladesh Initiative in 2008 resulting in the establishment of a the ‘One Health Bangladesh’. Chittagong Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (CVASU) took the initiative for the discussion on the “One Health” concept with experts from relevant stakeholders and partner organizations e.g.; Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), Department of Livestock Services (DLS), Department of Forestry (DoF), Department of Agricultural Extension, icddr’b, Bangladesh, Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU), Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA), Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Bangladesh, Institute of Food and Radiation Biology (IFRB, BAEC) and other relevant stakeholders from Government, UN agencies, universities, research organizations and other NGOs.

“One Health in Bangladesh”

The ‘Nipah virus (NiV) encephalitis’ large outbreak was identified in 2004, then exploration of historical samples identified cases from 2001 & 2003, in 2007 highly pathogenic ‘H5N1 Avian Influenza’ outbreak in poultry in Bangladesh and 2009-10 Influenza A H1N1 pdm09 pandemic, the ‘Human anthrax’ outbreak in almost every year in last decade brought the concerned scientist of the relevant sectors to work together on these common issues of emerging Zoonotic disease with the common strategic and intervention plan to prevent, early detect and rapid response for control of the disease outbreaks. The need for civil society ‘One Health Bangladesh’ was felt even stronger when experts realized Bangladesh is one of the densely populated countries in the world, and is one of the hot spots for emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) & Re-emerging infectious diseases (Jones et al. 2008, Nature) and need community engagement for effective response. People in the village live close to animals and disease spillover is a threat, the country faces the public health threats of emerging and re-emerging diseases, challenges of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), Food security and safety is vulnerable in Bangladesh, with delicate ecosystems, Arsenic in the tube-wells is a public health concern with high- level above the WHO standard.

The Main Objectives of ‘One Health Bangladesh’

  1. Advocacy, communication and networking (community, national, regional & global level).
  2. Awareness building among the key stakeholders, political leaders, and policy makers, and the government.
  3. Promote ‘One Health’ through programs (seminar, conference, advocacy programs, webinars and consultative workshops, share good practice & success stories one-health day celebration).
  4. One Health country strategic document development.
  5. Collaborative practices and research collaboration.
  6. Provide technical support to ‘One Health Secretariat (OHS)’ for initialization of OH in Bangladesh through OHS.

Figure 1. Institutional arrangement One Health Secretariat *


Figure 2. Timeline of One Health in Bangladesh