Lodwar, March 12, 2024 (Public Communications and Media Relations)

Three county departments have called for One Health as a strategy to achieve a healthy human and animal population and environment particularly targeting the migratory pastoral community.

Departments of Health, Livestock Development and Environment have joined forces to establish the County One Health Unit. The Unit is tasked with coordinating the One Health activities which are vital strategies to achieve primary healthcare and reducing zoonotic diseases incidences.

These discussions took place during a courtesy call by the USAID Kenya Mission led by Heidi O’Bra – Deputy Director for USAID Health Office and Core Group Partners Project (CGPP) Secretariat led by its Director, Somane Mohamed, to the County Government. The team was headed for One Health related field visit, in Lokiriama Sub-County, to assess its impact.

Representing the County Government were Chief Officers; Peter Lomorukai – Preventive and Promotive, Dr Gilchrist Lokoel – Medical Services and Dr Ezekiel Etelej Ekuwam – Livestock Development. The Chiefs, accompanied with their respective senior officers, were able to share the achievements and gaps identified in the One Health implementation.

Chief Lomorukai described the launch of One Health Strategy as a significant milestone for the County, noting that plans were underway to further devolve implementation of the strategy to the sub-county level in the coming years.

“We are also in the process of finalising the draft One Health Bill and Policy which will pave way for county government financing thus ensuring sustainability,” he said.

Chief Dr Lokoel pointed out that 60% of the county’s population are pure pastoralists. He explained that through the One Health approach, the county government was able to bring services closer to the highly mobile population.

“Moving forward the integration of community health reporters and community disease reporters combine reporting system is an area to explore to reduce zoonotic – related cases,” he said.

According to the Chief Dr Etelej, the Veterinary Services Directorate had also trained 786 community disease reporters against a target of 1500.

“Community engagements during the recent One Health activity, shared by a PHD student, one issue came out strongly was limited water access. Therefore, the Unit saw it fit to co-opt the County Water Services into One Health approach,” he said.

USAID representative, O’Bra, applauded the county government for having a One Health Strategy and prioritising the community as change can be activated through them.

On his part, Mohamed of CGPP said that the field visit was for learning purposes, sharing experiences and identifying areas for adaptation to address any gaps.

Also in attendance were partner representatives from the International Rescue Committee and USAID Imarisha Jamii.

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13TH-14TH AUGUST 2024