The South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS), the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) and the World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) -TWAS Young Affiliate Network (TYAN) held a symposium on ‘ONE HEALTH: A focus on Infectious Diseases in Africa’ in Durban on 27-28 May 2019. This was with a view to increase knowledge and build capacity in infectious disease research among early-career researchers in the Africa region. The symposium was held in partnership with the Sub-Saharan African Network for TB/HIV Research Excellence (SANTHE), the World Academy of Sciences Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Partner (TWAS-SAREP) and the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC).

Delegates deliberated on the “One Health” concept and acknowledged the interconnected relationship between human beings, animals and environmental health. A sustainable and shared approach requires an integrated analysis of infectious diseases with contributions from various domains.

The symposium also sought to identify niche areas where there is commonality or where there are opportunities to address scientific challenges through leveraging on the strengths of others in the region. In this regard delegates from the following countries attended the symposium: South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Namibia, Benin, Malawi, Nigeria, Cameroon, Mauritius, Ghana and Zambia.

Guest speakers included addresses from Sabiha Essack, Professor in Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), South African Research Chair in Antibiotic Resistance and One Health; Professor Salim Abdool Karim, Director, Centre for the AIDS Program of Research (CAPRISA), UKZN and Professor Thumbi Ndung’u, Deputy Director (Science), Africa Health Research Institute.