One Health Central and Eastern Africa (OHCEA) country teams from the 16 OHCEA institutions and partners are in Addis Ababa – Ethiopia, developing work plans for Year 5 of the USAID-funded One Health Workforce project. The three-day meeting kicked off with a half-day morning session to discuss strategies for the sustainability of the OHCEA network without donor funding.
The morning session was flagged off by Dr. Berihu Gebrekidan -Chair OHCEA Leadership Summit. Using the ‘divorce’ analogy, he asked delegates whether they would consider exiting the network at this point, if there was no more funding. With all delegates saying divorce is not an option, he then posed a few key questions. ‘What are the key components of sustainability that we should be looking at now? What are the values that develop when stakeholders meet? What is the common vision that we have as a result of sharing common pain? If we do not get funding from EPT III, what is the future like? What innovative ideas do we have to carry the network forward?
A panel consisting of OHCEA Focal Persons from Uganda, Kenya, Cameroon and DRC then provided background discussion to identification of strategies to sustain the network. Panellists were Dr. Esther Buregyeya –School of Public Health Makerere University-Uganda, Dr. Peter Koskei – School of Public Health Moi University-Kenya, Prof. Prince Kimpanga – School of Public Health University of Kinshasa and Dr. Christian Keambou – College of Veterinary Medicine Buea University-Cameroon.
From the panel discussion, the key emerging issues were;
• OHCEA is still relevant, with or without donor funding, because of the increasing number and magnitudes of health challenges
• Looking beyond traditional funders and reach out to the private sector and smaller funders as well as considering collaborative resource mobilisation strategies
• Documentation, communication and visibility of what OHCEA has been doing over the years
• Seeking strategic partnerships and collaborations across the continent with other players
Delegates were then grouped into six thematic groups to discuss the status quo and identify how differently and innovatively things can be done.