One Health Workforce Project Ethiopia attends EPT 2 Partners’ Meeting

One Health Central and Eastern Africa (OHCEA) Ethiopia OHW project, represented by Dr. Berihun Afera, Focal Person from Mekelle University, attended a consultative workshop of various EPT stakeholders including government officials. The workshop was led by State Minister of Livestock and Fisheries, Dr. Misrak at Addis Ababa, FAO Meeting Hall.

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What Seemingly small things can do to a Young Professional Seeking to Grow

I extend my sincere thanks to you, One Health Students Club MakerereUniversity and the entire staff of OHCEA Uganda office for training mein disease outbreak response and later giving me an opportunity toparticipate in Rift Valley Fever investigation in Kabale.Thank you for giving me a chance through Ms. Doreen Birungi to workwith colleagues outside my profession. It was really nice and veryinteresting to operate with medical personnel, social mobilisers, andpsychologists on the same team in the field. My teamworkskills, Social skills and Reporting skills greatly improved during theexercise and seriously it is one of the exercises I will never forget.Furthermore, I would wish to bring it to your notice that I receivedmy entire stipend and once again give credit to OHCEA for thetransparency in every activity organized 

Ronald was part of the Rift Valley Outbreak Response Team

Ethiopian “One Health” Club Engages High School Students for Rabies Eradication Campaign

In April 2013, in Aynalem Village, located in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region, a rabid dog bit two cows and three people. Around the same time, several hyenas, suspected of having rabies, were found dead. In a separate incident in 2003, several hundred endangered Ethiopian wolves, the world’s rarest canid, died of suspected rabiesRabies, an infectious disease that can be passed from animals to humans and fatal without timely treatment, is an emerging epidemic in Ethiopia. Ethiopia has one of the highest reported per capita rates of human rabies deaths in the world, with approximately 15,000 deaths annually.

One contributing factor is a lack of public awareness about rabies, including the need for post-exposure treatment and for vaccinating domestic dogs, which are the primary disease carriers.

Jimma University in Ethiopia’s Oromia Region is part of the One Health Central and Eastern Africa (OHCEA) network. Formed through a USAID project, the network encourages university student clubs to engage multiple disciplines to solve public health threats which stem from humans and animals sharing an environment together and to equip students with the knowledge, mindset, and skills to work with communities to address infectious diseases, like rabies. Jimma University’s student club was established in October 2015 with 140 students from medicine, veterinary, environmental science, agriculture, and public health sectors. The One Health approach recognizes that the health of animals, humans and the environment are inter-linked. Therefore, confronting health threats requires collaboration across sectors.

To address Ethiopia’s rabies problem, Jimma University’s One Health Student Club initiated a campaign called “Eradicate Rabies in Ethiopia.” Because teenagers care for domestic dogs in most communities in Ethiopia, the campaign decided to educate high school students about rabies.

In its first rabies awareness effort, the student club targeted Seto High School in January 2016, reaching 500 students, mostly 9th and 10th graders. The Jimma University students prepared brochures and posters about the causes, effects, transmission, and control of rabies.

The club members distributed brochures and shared rabies information with their high school counterparts. One of the student club members, Atsede Milashu, read a poem on rabies and its dangers. The Jimma University students also communicated information on the One Health approach to prevent and respond to emerging pandemics.

“Our vision is to reach students from primary to secondary schools informing them about One Health and infectious disease prevention. We believe that students impact their families and communities” said Gelan Kuse, president of the student club.

This is just the first step for the Jimma University student club. They plan to take the rabies campaign nationwide to other communities in Ethiopia, including vaccination control of stray dogs and adding other infectious diseases like tuberculosis, brucellosis and Ebola. Student club members also plan to assist other high schools in initiating their own One Health student clubs to address public health threats at the animal-human-environment interface. Through this process, the student club members are building their skills and competencies in emergency preparedness and response, getting ready to fight the next pandemic.

Kenya One Health Students Clubs conduct extensive Community activities for the Kipkelion West Subcounty

March 19th 2016, the One Health Students’ Clubs- Moi University in Liaison with University of Nairobi and Kericho County Government, with the financial support of OHCEA through the One Health Workforce project, conducted an outreach activity to Chebirir primary school area, Kipkelion West Sub County, Kericho County.  

The visit to Kericho provided a field experience for 25 undergraduate students comprising of 3rd, 4th and 5th year students undertaking Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine. Kipkelion West was identified and chosen based on recent outbreak of Rabies disease and rural set-up that limits community to information access. The trip was a success owing to the contribution and participation of all who attended.

The activities carried out during the day included:

  • Rabies awareness
  • Vaccination of dogs and cats against Rabies and issuing of certificates of vaccination
  • Brucellosis awareness and education
  • Education on First aid for dog bites and animal handling
  • Hand washing
  • Hygiene and sanitation
  • Housing
  • Oral/dental health education
  • Family planning education
  • Breast cancer self-examination technique education
  • Cervical and prostate cancer awareness and education

The following experiences were gained during the event:

Organization and facilitation of field activity at community levels (choice of operation site, publicity, allocation of duties, crowd management and working with community leaders); field extension services (advising animal owners rabies disease control, management of dog bites and development of animal vaccination schedule); Vaccine handling, storage, preparation and dispensation to animals as well as animal restraint; Community education through Public Barazas.

On Brucellosis, public health students and veterinary students engaged the community members in education about brucellosis. The disease is endemic in the area. The community members take milk as one of their most dominant food. Brucellosis presents itself initially through signs such as recurrent fevers, sweats, malaise, anorexia, headache, depression, pain in muscles, joint, and/or back and fatigue. The disease is mostly misdiagnosed as malaria. It is a bacterial zoonotic disease which is mostly transmitted through ingestion of undercooked meat or consuming unpasteurized/raw dairy products. The people who attended therefore had the chance to be enlightened about the disease and were advised to seek medical attention in case of such symptoms and embrace the preventive measures and behaviour change in animal and animal products consumption.

Hand washing: Hands are the major pathways of germ transmission. During this event, the One Health students members took part in educating the members of the community on how to wash hands using water and soap through demonstration as per the guidelines of World Health Organization, (WHO).  The public health officers helped in the same and sensitized about hand washing before eating, after eating, after visiting toilet among other times.

Hygiene and Sanitation: Sanitation and hygiene are critical to health, survival and development. Many countries are challenged in providing adequate sanitation for the entire populations, leaving people at risk for water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) - related diseases. The Kipkelion people were educated on how to maintain the environment clean, how to manage solid wastes, and use of toilets/pit latrines sensitized. Open defecation was discouraged as it poses a risk for contamination of the environment, water and pastures and spread of diseases. They were advised to make use of locally available materials for construction of pit latrines and where to construct them in relation to the design of their homesteads.

They were also enlightened on to separate housing/ avoid living with domestic animals on the same roof to avoid jiggers, avoid dusty houses and to use locally available materials and techniques such and smearing the floors and walls using cow dung and soil to seal crevices where flees and other rodents thrive. 

Oral and Dental Hygiene: Oral health is essential to general health and quality of life. The community members, about all, were noted to have poor oral health, being characterized by the brown colour of teeth. This was attributed to by intake of water having high fluoride content and poor oral hygiene. They were advised to observe oral cleanliness through brushing their teeth regularly using the locally available materials such as sticks in case they couldn’t afford the manufacture toothbrushes. They were demonstrated to the right procedure of brushing teeth. They were also advised to seek medical attention in of teeth/ oral problems such as toothaches. This activity was mostly done by the dental surgery students from Moi University.

Family planning/ Cancer Awareness: One health students took part in educating mothers about family planning. Most of these students were nursing students from Moi University. They enlightened the mothers about the different methods of controlling birth available in the nearest healthcare facilities. Such methods are pills, depo provera, implanon, condoms. About 43 mothers received this education where they had been gathered in a secluded room. 

Cancer is a non-communicable disease. It is one among many diseases currently in the world whose numbers are arising in an alarming manner. This called for the medical students to utilize the chance to educate the mothers of breast cancer and cervical cancer. They educated them on how to self-examine themselves. Demonstration was also done on how to self-examine oneself. Pictures/drawings were also used to help them understand the concept better and easily.

A group photo of SUA and MUHAS students after the football match. The SUA team won 2-0

OHCEA Tanzania Conducts Inter-disciplinary Training for Undergraduate Students

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