One Health Central and Eastern Africa in Sustainability Drive to Prepare for end of EPT II Funding

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.

Continue Reading

Group Photograph of the participants during the validation of the report on the analysis of the one health workshop by Makerere University School of Public Health and COVAB

Makerere University Deputy Vice Chancellor (F&A) Appeals for Collaboration and Advocacy

Makerere University School of Public Health and College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (COVAB) on 12th April, 2018, at Protea Hotel, validated a report on the weaknesses and gaps identified in the inter-sectoral teams from the Government that respond to emerging pandemic zoonoses, such as the recent Marburg Viral Fever outbreak in Kween and Kapchorwa Districts in November 2017. This study was supported by supported by funds from One Health Central and Eastern Africa (OHCEA) and the USAID One Health Workforce (OHW) Project.

 Responding to zoonotic disease solely within a single discipline or sector, limits the understanding of the disease situation, results in poor decision making, inefficient coordination and unsatisfactory response to the outbreak. Inter-sectoral collaboration, (also known as the one health approach), is most desirable, and is now operational under the framework of the National One Health Platform in government sectors that primarily respond to infectious diseases. These are the Ministry of Health (MoH), Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE) and Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).  This collaborative approach will enable Uganda meet the goals as required by the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA).

The workshop was opened by the Director of Environmental Affairs from the Ministry of Water and Environment who is the current chair of the National One Health Platform and he advocated for the institutionalization of the One Health Approach, which will result in join envisioning and planning at the ministerial level. Prof. William Bazeyo who is the Deputy Vice Chancellor (DVC) Finance and Administration (F/A), Makerere University, as well as the Principal Investigator (PI) and CEO OHCEA, urged professionals from various government sectors as well as academia present collaborate with each other and take the message and concept of One Health to the grass root communities where the health challenges stem from. Examples of innovative and easily available forum to be used included social media. The Principal, COVAB who is also the Co-PI OHCEA, Prof. John David Kabasa, in his keynote address stressed that solutions to health issues are dynamic and need to cut across disciplines and educational levels. “People should be molded in One Health right from childhood to higher levels of education,”

The workshop participants included a representative of the Director of Animal Resources (MAAIF), Commissioners from MoH, MAAIF and MWE, Senior Health, Veterinary and Environment Government Officers, Consultants in Wildlife, representatives from National Curriculum Development Center, Deans and Departmental Chairs in Makerere Academia, representatives from CDC-Uganda, FAO-ECTAD-Uganda, USAID Preparedness and Response Project, PREDICT-2 and the USAID Uganda Mission. There was an informative plenary discussion confirming the gaps, weaknesses on the One Health workforce with action points suggested to improve the functioning of the inter-sectoral one health workforce in mitigating infectious health challenges.  These findings will be used by the university and other partners (government inclusive) in planning and designing interventions for joint workforce development or enriching one health action plans.

The Assistant Commissioner Information and Communication, (MAAIF), Ms. Connie Acayo, concluded the workshop by reiterating the need for the application of the four “C’s” within the one health (inter-sectoral) approach-Co-operation, Co-ordination, Capacity and Containment of the emerging pandemic threats.

The validated report entitled the “Analysis of the One Health Workforce” was synthesised in close collaboration with government by reviewing several country assessments including Joint External Evaluation (JEE, June 2017) and National Action Plans. A multi-sectoral consultative meeting (22nd to 24th August 2017) utilized the OH-SMARTTM tool kit to strengthen the synthesis report from document review.

Some of the significant capacity and competency gaps revealed by our assessment of the one health workforce as they detect, prevent and respond prioritized zoonoses included: the need for workforce capacity building in management, leadership, communication strategies, risk communication, negotiation, conflict resolution, systems thinking, information technology and informatics. Other gaps pointed towards the need for capacity in disease surveillance, laboratory systems, increasing awareness for the need of one health in academic institutions and a policy framework for the operationalization of the one health approach.


A group photo of the students and the instructor Dr. William Nelson (far right in blue T-shirt) after antemortem examination of the animals at Morogoro abattoir

Inter-disciplinary Training for Undergraduate Students- Tanzania

OHCEA Tanzania conducted a joint interdisciplinary training for undergraduate students from Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) and Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) on ‘control of emerging pandemic threats and other zoonotic diseases’. This was a collaborative training facilitated by faculty from MUHAS and SUA. A total of 106 students from both institutions were involved in the training, including      fifty seven (57) 5th year Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine students from SUA 49 second year BSc. Environmental Health students from MUHAS. Six faculty were involved with the training as instructors; four from SUA and two from MUHAS. The training was conducted at SUA campus, Morogoro.

The training aimed at introducing students to emerging pandemic threats (EPT) and other important zoonotic diseases and empower them with the principles of their prevention, control and eradication using the abattoir as a model.

Participatory approaches were used during the training process. The topics that were covered included:

  1. General overview of OHCEA, its genesis, scope and importance
  2. Overview of One Health concepts; One Health Competencies and Domains, linking with EPT and One Health Workforce (OHW) project
  3. PREDICT: A relevant predictive Public Health approach for EPT in Tanzania
  4. Zoonosis and other One Health and Public health upcoming issues like antibiotic resistance (AMR).
  5. General meat hygiene and quality assessment.
  6. Biorisk measures in selection of areas for abattoir construction.
  7. Abattoir lay out, management and sanitation.
  8. Meat animals: selection, handling and slaughter practices.
  9. Antemortem inspection of animals & the common diseases and postmortem meat inspection & the common pathological lesions.
  10. Animal byproducts from abattoir as potential sources of zoonosis to humans.
  11. Wastes and waste management from abattoir as a means of prevention of EPT, zoonosis and other emerging pollutants (antibiotic residues and natural hormones) from abattoir; (xii) Occupational diseases and injuries: Hospital model and Food industry (abattoir) mode

For each of the covered theoretical topics, students participated in practical sessions which included a visit to the abattoir; focusing on the abattoir layout, facilities available  and  ante-mortem animal examination, meat inspection  & transportation of meat to meat shops (butchers), waste management and sanitation, assessment of condemned organs.

The five days training enhanced interactions between veterinary students from SUA and their counterpart BSc. Environmental Health students from MUHAS. Apart from the theoretical training in classes, practical training at the abattoir; students had opportunities to participate in sporting activities during some evenings.

Majority of the students said that the training was relevant to their career; there was a lot of new information and learning provided; useful materials and knowledge gained; the training expanded their understanding of One Health; the training met the intended objectives as were stated in the program; the training met the expectations of students and all of them promised to make use of the materials and knowledge gained in their professional career.

Additionally, students said that the interaction enabled them make new friends across the two universities.


Mbarali district participants in group photo

Tanzania conducts One Health In-Service Leadership Training

OHCEA Tanzania conducted a One Health in-service leadership training with the main objective of training 23 in-service health professionals with introductory One Health leadership skills and competencies and to establish and strengthen a progressive One Health leadership development programme for the OHCEA network within the country. The training also aimed to develop and build leadership mentorship skills and experience towards establishment of an active mentoring network in the target districts of Kilolo, Mbarali, Njombe and Iringa.  The training also aimed at addressing barriers to the One Health approach through developing experience and competency in communication, collaboration and leadership.

This is the third in-service course on One Health leadership training among leaders in Tanzania. It was conducted for five days, 11th -15th May 2016.  Twenty in-service leaders were trained with the primary aim of increasing the level of advocacy on One Health leadership, increasing the networking capacity and increase their involvement in inter-sectoral, inter-disciplinary One Health teams. The training took place at the Giraffe Oceanic View Hotel conference facility;-Dar es salaam, Tanzania.

The School of Public Health and Social Sciences of Muhimbili University of Health and Social Sciences (MUHAS) in collaboration with Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), Disaster Management Department of the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Emergency Preparedness and Response Unit organized the workshop under OHCEA management.

A total of twenty three in-service district workers were trained on One Health leadership, and they included District Medical Officers, Veterinary Officers, District Planning Officer, District Education Officers and District Health Officer from the four selected districts. The diverse backgrounds of participants provided an opportunity for sharing of experiences both among participants, as well as between participants and facilitators.

The training emphasized key One Health leaders’ competence areas- visionary & strategic, communication, team building and change management.

Based on the evaluation done during the course, it has been noted that the level of advocacy of the participants as individuals and in teams has increased. Furthermore, their networking capacity has been improved. It is expected that following the interactions and linkages established during the training, participants will increasingly get involved in inter-sectoral as well as inter-disciplinary One Health teams. Continuous monitoring and evaluation will be done by facilitators assisted by the Country Coordinating Committee based on the documented way forward in the respective districts and key ministries as well as the collaborating universities.


Working in district groups, participants- guided by facilitators- identified three main problems whose intervention requires a One Health approach. These are Rabies, Environmental sanitation and Solid waste management.




Winners pose for a picture with their Trophy

University of Rwanda Concludes Global One Health Competition.

University of Rwanda has for the second year running held the Global Health Case Competition. Global Health Case Competition presents an opportunity for multidisciplinary students to collaboratively work together to develop innovative solutions to health challenges. Unlike the previous year when competitions were held at campus level only, this year’s competition was held at both campus and University levels. The best team from each campus was selected to compete at the University level. The University level competitions were held on March 17, 2018 at Golden Tulip Hotel in Bugusera. The students under the umbrella of the Students One Health Innovations Club (SOHIC) were from Huye, Nyagatare, Remera and Rwamagana campuses of University of Rwanda.

Rwanda started conducting Global Health Case Competitions in year 3 of the One Health Workforce project and were the pioneers among OHCEA countries. Other countries that have organized case competitions include Kenya and Ethiopia.  There is a call to have regional competitions where OHCEA partner countries would compete at a regional level.

The competition at University level was based on a case study of Q fever outbreak that started from cattle imported from a neighbouring country. This disease was affecting both domestic animals and humans. Students were required to develop innovative One Health interventions and elaborate how they would engage stakeholders in the intervention. The interventions were expected to support prevention, detection and response to the disease. Participants were also required to include timelines and budgets in their projects.

The scores were based on presentation delivery, analysis of the problem / challenge, content of recommendations, and response to questions. Each team made a 20 minute presentation of their innovations followed by 12 minutes of questions from the judges. The team of judges included representatives from Rwanda’s National Reference Lab, PREDICT project, University of Minnesota, Independent Consultant, and  Dean – University of Rwanda Faculty of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine. To ensure that there is no bias in judging students, mentors and faculty from competing campuses were excluded from the judges.

 Unlike the first case competition where the Rwanda team heavily depended on University of Minnesota for technical support, this time much of the work was dependent on local capacity that has already been built. The activities of the Global Health Case Competition were centrally coordinated by the SOHIC Activity Lead Mr. Adolphe Atuheire. This ensured that uniform messages were sent across all campuses and at the same time.  Dr. Robert Kibuuka one of the OHCEA Focal Persons noted “Basing on the experience we got while implementing our maiden Global Health Case Competitions, this time we didn’t have much support from UMN. We developed the case studies and implemented the whole range of sub-activities without getting technical support. Adolphe is now the SOHIC activity lead and he coordinates all the activities and shares all the communication. We had coordinators and faculty at different campuses who were mobilising students plus our former contestants also supported in mentorships. Former contestants were not allowed to contestant this time round. What added value was that the current contestants had trust in former contestants since they went through the same experience.”

After all teams had presented, judges gave general feedback to the participants. Judges commended all teams for the innovations they proposed noting that they had a potential for creating impact in the community. It is against this background that the one of the judges, Dr. Emil Ivan from Rwanda’s National Reference Laboratory remarked “These students will in future be better than us”.

It was however observed that most of the teams elaborated more on the theories forgetting the components of the solutions. Teams needed to have integrated solutions and link with stakeholders while considering the feasibility of the solutions. Additionally, judges observed that there was need to put the proposition in perspectives of established knowledge and procedures. Moreover, innovations need to be affordable to the level of the hospitals and farmers.

Students who participated in the competitions commended the competition as a great learning experience. Ms Nadine Mpinganzima the team leader for Nyagatare campus remarked:

“The best thing I have gained from this competition is knowledge and skills on zoonotic diseases. From my training in irrigation and drainage, I didn’t have much classroom knowledge on zoonotic diseases. I was impressed that this is a disease I knew but didn’t know how it is transmitted, or how to handle it. And it was very enlightening looking at the disease from a One Health perspective. The approach of working as a multidisciplinary team was very rewarding. I have been working as an individual but working as a team where students from various disciplines contribute their knowledge to the same problem was very impressive.”Another student Christine MUHOZA a second year agriculture student from Nyagatare campus was equally impressed with the value of this activity:

This exercise has helped me to gain deeper knowledge about health. Previously, I didn’t appreciate that other disciplines like mine have a contribution towards health. It is very valuable to work with various disciplines and I gained a lot of knowledge through that interaction. These competitions gave us a chance of interacting with and learn from other students who have ideas different from ours. One of the things I gained most from the competitions was is conducting research. Before the competitions, I didn’t know how to do research but now I am an expert. I have also experienced developing budgets.”

 The view that the Global Health Case Competition was beneficial to the students is also shared by the Dr. Kibuuka and Dr. Mushayija. They point out that this activity has enabled the 154 students that participated (at both campus and university levels) to gain skills on zoonotic diseases.  In addition to those who participated in the competitions, there were many more students who participated during the presentations but never competed. Students had an opportunity to listen to in-service professionals from government who are managing outbreaks.  Inspired by the students’ proposed approaches to handling the problem, the PREDICT Country Coordinator who was one of the judges, asked the Focal Person to identify one of the students from Nyagatare campus to go and work with him in the department so that he can continue mentoring him / her. Considering the benefits gained from the competition, the students noted that more students need to be exposed to similar experiences that would improve their knowledge on health.  

“Health is one thing that we all need to be aware of. We have very little awareness of what happens in our life. The information we get from such activities like this competition is very important but then it is exposed to very few students. There is need to put in place mechanisms to ensure that very many students are exposed to it. For example One Health course can be taught to all University students.” Noted Nadine.

Christine Muhoza also feels this experience should be exposed to more students. She proposes that the competing students should also include graduate students.

“One area for improvement is they should have masters students included so that they work with under graduates. Also, there is need to find a way of involving Secondary and primary students in One Health approach”.

Participating students and their mentors exhibited a very high level of commitment and dedication to the Global Health Case Competition. When asked what motivated students participation in the competition, Dr. Mushayija who was one of the mentors had this to say:

“Basing on activities OHCEA has been implementing, there is an existing view by students that whatever activities OHCEA supports are beneficial to the students. Added to this, students were motivated by the prestige of getting the trophy on top of the medals and bags. The possibility of competing at a regional level is also a big motivation for students to participate dedicatedly. Moreover, there is an opportunity of students getting out of their campuses and networking with their counterparts from other campuses or countries.”

The Focal Person acknowledged that despite the huge success of this year’s Global Health Case Competition, there were some areas that needs improvement. He proposes that development of the cases to be used during the competition, should involve government workers who are on the ground and have real hands on experience in handling health threats.  Additionally, he proposes video recording of the students’ presentations and judges’ feedback which would be used for training and mentoring students during subsequent competitions. He singled out the small budget as a limitation against involvement of many faculty especially in mentoring students.

Remera campus emerged winners of the competition followed by Nyagatare campus. The winning team received a trophy plus bags for all the team members. While handing over the trophy, Dean Martin Ntawubizi from University of Rwanda School of Animal Sciences and Veterinary Medicine thanked everyone for the hard work that enabled conducting the competitions successfully. He observed that all students who competed were winners noting that all teams scored above 71%. Rwamagana campus was given special recognition for making a great performance despite being very young in terms of participation in OHCEA / One Health Workforce activities. All participating students from the 4 campuses were awarded medals.

Winning teams pose with mentors and facilitators after receiving their trophies

Talk to us