Two pandemics in China, One Health in Chinese

Huang, Jie, McLean, Gary R., Dubee, Frederick C. and Zheng, Zhiji (2022) Two pandemics in China, One Health in Chinese. BMJ Global Health, 7 (3). pp. 1-3. ISSN 2059-7908


The term ‘One Health’ was coined in 2003 to describe the interdependence of healthy ecosystems, animals and people, soon after the emergence of SARS broke out. The philosophy of One Health is now widely accepted by the international community, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which was first reported in China, but its origin is far from certain.

China has suffered two major pandemics during the 21st century. The ‘One Health’ philosophy and principals are dearly needed in China; therefore, it is critical to ensure a correct Chinese translation so that its holistic meaning could be fully grasped, and actions could be orchestrated across the globe.

In China, two completely different Chinese characters are used as the translation of ‘One’ in One Health. Both sides have distinguished scholars from the field, and have reasonable arguments.

The opportunities to contribute to Health at the ‘World’ scale, on the ‘International’ stage and with ‘Global’ spirit certainly sound inspirational especially for the young generations. But we argue that the acronym WIG (world, international, global) paints a more realistic picture of what is needed to be done. Under a wig in health salons, there is a hairless problem to be fixed. Under a wig in justice courts, there is a fairness problem to be tackled.

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