Boran cattle at Kapiti ranch in Kenya

Boran cattle grazing at Kapiti ranch in Kenya. The Zoonotic Disease Unit in Kenya will use One Health approaches to improve prevention and control of zoonoses (photo credit: ILRI).

The One Health approach for the prevention and control of zoonotic diseases (diseases transmitted between animals and humans) was institutionalized in Kenya following the official launch of the country’s Zoonotic Disease Unit in Nairobi on 3 October 2012.

The occasion also featured the launch of the strategic plan for the implementation of One Health in Kenya. The strategic plan has the following three goals:

  • To strengthen surveillance, prevention and control of zoonoses in both humans and animals
  • To establish structures and partnerships that promote One Health approaches
  • To conduct applied research at the human-animal-ecosystem interface in order to better understand the mechanism of maintenance and transmission of zoonotic pathogens

The Zoonotic Disease Unit is the first of its kind in Africa and will serve as a model for the region in implementing innovative and integrated approaches to investigate outbreaks of zoonoses towards improved disease surveillance, prevention and control.

The Unit was set up in 2011 by the Ministry of Livestock Development and the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation with the main objective of establishing and maintaining active collaboration at the animal, human and ecosystem interface towards better prevention and control of zoonotic diseases.

The United States Department of State Biosecurity Engagement Program, the United States Department of Defense and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention supported the Government of Kenya in the establishment of the Zoonotic Diseases Unit.

The implementing partners include the African Union – Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

For more information, please visit the website of the Zoonotic Disease Unit at http://zdukenya.org.