At the beginning of the year, our One Health Educator, Dr. Paula Marín, collaborated with a government organization here in Chile called FOSIS (in English, the Ministry of Social Development and Family), which focuses on supporting and empowering people living in extreme poverty. Beyond offering individual assistance, FOSIS aims to tackle systemic injustices to create a clearer and more attainable path to greater economic security, with the intent of ending the cycle of poverty for families and communities.

Knowing that poverty reduction is a critical part of a One Health approach to a healthier world, we were eager to partner with this organization. Dr. Marín presented a virtual workshop on pet health and welfare to about 30 people who receive support from FOSIS. Some of these people live in shantytowns where resources are extremely limited and free-roaming animals are quite common.

Thanks to this collaboration and the support for our Healthy Pets Program from our partners at Veterinarians International, we had a chance to share information on what responsible pet ownership looks like (preventive health, regular vaccinations, sterilization, microchipping, proper nutrition and exercise, safe environment and containment, etc.), strategies to help neighbors resolve conflicts concerning animals and resources to make some of those goals more accessible.

The participants felt comfortable asking questions on a wide variety of related topics, and the feedback was so positive that we are in talks with FOSIS to explore the possibility of an ongoing partnership on a national scale. Connecting people in poverty with resources to keep their animals healthier could create a large-scale, sustainable change in not only animal health but also human health in Chile and beyond!