Producing Interdisciplinary Competent Professionals: Integrating One Health Core Competencies into the Veterinary Curriculum at the University of Rwanda

Hellen J. Amuguni n Melissa Mazan n Robert Kibuuka


Infectious diseases of grave concern to human health are emerging from wildlife and livestock populations in multiple regions of the world. Responding effectively to these emerging pandemics requires engagement of multidisciplinary groups of professionals. Using a One Health approach, One Health Central and Eastern Africa (OHCEA), a network of seven schools of public health and seven veterinary schools, with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has engaged in curriculum review with the aim of building the skills of multidisciplinary groups of professionals to improve their capacity to respond to emerging infectious diseases. Through stakeholder analysis and curriculum development workshops, the University of Rwanda’s School of Veterinary Medicine, in association with Tufts University, revised its curriculum to incorporate One Health competencies to be better prepared to respond to any infectious disease outbreak in Africa. The revised curriculum aimed to build cross-sectoral skills and knowledge; transform students’ ways of thinking about infectious disease outbreak response; link human, veterinary, and wildlife health training opportunities; and strengthen community front-line responder training. Eight different disciplines engaged in the curriculum review process: Veterinary Medicine, Livestock Production, Wildlife and Aquatic Resources, Environmental Health and Epidemiology, Communication Technology, Engineering, Agriculture, and Public Health. One Health competencies such as communication, collaboration, leadership, and advocacy were added to the new curriculum, helping ensure that each professional be appropriately equipped with skills to recognize and respond effectively to any emerging infections.

Key words: curriculum, educational methods, One Health, infectious diseases


Implementing One Health as an integrated approach to health in Rwanda


It is increasingly clear that resolution of complex global health problems requires interdisciplinary, intersectoral expertise and cooperation from governmental, nongovernmental and educational agencies. ‘One Health’ refers to the collaboration of multiple disciplines and sectors working locally, nationally and globally to attain optimal health for people, animals and the environment. One Health offers the opportunity to acknowledge shared interests, set common goals, and drive toward team work to benefit the overall health of a nation. As in most countries, the health of Rwanda’s people and economy are highly dependent on the health of the environment. Recently, Rwanda has developed a One Health strategic plan to meet its human, animal and environmental health challenges. This approach drives innovations that are important to solve both acute and chronic health problems and offers synergy across systems, resulting in improved communication, evidence-based solutions, development of a new generation of systems-thinkers, improved surveillance, decreased lag time in response, and improved health and economic savings. Several factors have enabled the One Health movement in Rwanda including an elaborate network of community health workers, existing rapid response teams, international academic partnerships willing to look more broadly than at a single disease or population, and relative equity between female and male health professionals. Barriers to implementing this strategy include competition over budget, poor communication, and the need for improved technology. Given the interconnectedness of our global community, it may be time for countries and their neighbours to follow Rwanda’s lead and consider incorporating One Health principles into their national strategic health plans.


 One Health capacity building in sub-Saharan Africa

Innocent B. Rwego, BVM, MSc, PhD,1,7,* Olutayo Olajide Babalobi, DVM, MPVM, PhD,2 Protus Musotsi, BSc,3 Serge Nzietchueng, DVM, MSc,1,4 Christian Keambo Tiambo, BSc, PhD,5,6 John David Kabasa, BVM, MSc, PhD,7 Irene Naigaga, BVM, MSc, PhD,8 Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, BVetMed, MRCVS,9 and Katherine Pelican, DVM, PhD1

Africa of late has been faced with challenges that require a multidisciplinary and multisectoral approach to address them, and academic and non-academic institutions have played a key role in training and conducting research that would promote the One Health approach.
The objective of this review was to document networks and organizations conducting One Health training, research, and outreach in Africa, as one of a series of articles around the world.
Data for this review were collected from organizations through key contacts of the authors and their knowledge of networks they have worked with. Web searches were conducted using One Health, training, and research as key words for work done in Africa.
Africa has major networks involved in One Health training, research, and outreach, with participation of both academic and non-academic institutions. This review highlights an effort in Africa to form networks to conduct multidisciplinary training and research. The main networks include Afrique One, Southern African Centre for Infectious Disease Surveillance (SACIDS), and One Health Central and Eastern Africa (OHCEA).
Both academic and non-academic institutions and organizations have shown an interest to conduct multidisciplinary training and research in Africa for managing challenges that Africa is facing currently, especially the outbreak of infectious diseases.
The full text article available here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5131459/ 

One Health Central and Eastern Africa: Historical and Future Perspectives

One Health Central and Eastern Africa (OHCEA) is a network of schools of public health and veterinary higher education institutions that are located in countries of the Eastern and Central Africa region, a region that includes the Congo Basin commonly considered to be one of the ‘hot spots’ for emerging and reemerging infectious diseases. The vision of the OHCEA network is to be a global leader in One Health, promoting sustainable health for prosperous communities, productive animals, and balanced ecosystems.
• Hot spots;
• One Health Central and Eastern Africa (OHCEA);
• United States Agency for International Development (USAID);
• World Health Organization (WHO);
• Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO);
• World Organization for Animal Health (OIE);
• One Health, Emerging Pandemic Threats

See details about the publication: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780128036785005129

Seroprevalence of Coxiella burnetii in sheep, goats and impalas at the Amboseli Park corridor, Kenya Bilha Njeri Nguro, George Karuoya Gitau & Andrew Gitau Thaiyah Department of Clinical Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Nairobi, Kenya.

Coxiella burnetii is an obligate intracellular bacterium that is the causative agent of Q fever, an important zoonotic. Domestic ruminants, mainly goats and sheep, are the main source of Q fever outbreaks in humans. Very scant information is available on the role and status of Q fever in wildlife in Kenya. This seroepidemiological survey was conducted to investigate the seroprevalence and associated factors of coxiellosis in sheep, goats and impalas at the Amboseli National Park wildlife-livestock corridor in Kenya. 5 ml whole blood was collected through jugular venepuncture from 300 sheep, 200 goats and 20 impalas. Sera were then collected and tested for antibodies against Coxiella burnetii using ELISA CHEKIT Q fever test kit. The seroprevalence at 95% confidence interval in sheep was 6% (2.7%, 9.3%), 21.7% (17%, 26.4%) in goats and 25% (6%, 44%) in impalas. The study also concluded that species and sex were significant risk factors. A semi-structured questionnaire was also administered in all the households to gather general household data and assess pastoralist knowledge on Q fever, none of the respondents had ever heard of the disease. These findings demonstrate that Q fever could be circulating among the wildlife, livestock and humans in the study area and further investigation is required. http://ijirk.com/archive_v2i10_paper_pdf/IJIRK-2.10.03.pdf

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