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
- 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.