Research


Fruit and vegetables on sale alongside other food items in a local market in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (photo credit: ILRI/Geraldine Klarenberg).

The CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) published its 2020 annual report on activities and accomplishments from its five research flagships:

  • food systems for healthier diets;
  • biofortification;
  • food safety;
  • supporting policies, programs, and enabling action through research; and
  • improving human health.

Noting that the year 2020 was dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, A4NH director John McDermott said: “The pandemic emphasized the importance of A4NH core research strengths: One Health, nutrition, and food systems, into which gender and equity considerations are integrated as critical to improve nutrition and health outcomes. As a result, A4NH research leaders and teams were called into central roles in COVID-19 response and recovery efforts during 2020 by CGIAR as well as in programs and projects in partner countries.”

The 10-year research program ended in December 2021 as CGIAR transitions to a new research structure and portfolio from 2022.

Access the A4NH 2020 annual report or read the online version.

Photo credit: Local food market in Addis Ababa (ILRI/Geraldine Klarenberg)

Market place in Kenya (photo credit: World Bank/Sambrian Mbaabu).

The Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit 2021 takes place on 7–8 December 2021. The summit comes at a critical time, midway through the United Nations Decade of Action on Nutrition, with only five years left to achieve the World Health Assembly  targets on maternal, infant and young child nutrition, and 10 years to reach the Sustainable Development Goals.

Ahead of the summit, on 2 December 2021, the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) hosted a side event on the role of informal markets within future food systems.

The purpose of the side event was to derive a set of principles to help national policymakers develop risk-based policies that reward positive food safety as opposed to criminalization and marginalization. Such policies will improve the governance, operations and future of informal markets to ensure their continued contribution to livelihoods, health and nutrition.

A panel discussion featured the following speakers:

  • Delia Grace, professor of food safety systems, Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich and joint appointed scientist, ILRI
  • Jane Battersby, senior lecturer, Department of Environmental and Geographical Science, University of Cape Town
  • Vivian Maduekeh, managing principal, Food Health Systems Advisory
  • Emma Blackmore, research associate, IIED
  • Stella Nordhagen, senior technical specialist, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition
  • Utpal Kumar Sharma, director, Dairy Development Department, Government of Assam, India

View the recording below.

Photo credit: Market place in Kenya (World Bank/Sambrian Mbaabu)

International Open Access Week is an annual scholarly communication event that is marked globally during the last full week of October to raise awareness about open access publishing of research and scholarly outputs to enable their universal online accessibility. The theme of Open Access Week 2021 (25 to 31 Oct) is ‘It matters how we open knowledge: Building structural equity’.

In the field of academic and research publishing, the peer-reviewed journal article is considered as the ‘gold standard’ for quality research outputs. However, many researchers nowadays also consider preprints as important and highly relevant outputs that contribute to the body of knowledge and enable discoverability of current research developments.

A preprint is a version of a scholarly or research manuscript that precedes formal peer review, typesetting and publication in a scholarly or scientific journal. Preprints are often uploaded to online preprint servers or institutional repositories where they are freely accessible as non-typeset versions of the manuscripts.

Publishing of preprints allows researchers to quickly share new findings with their peers and receive early feedback and comments which can help in revising manuscripts for submission to a scholarly journal.

At the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), scientists from the Animal and Human Health program carry out collaborative research to effectively manage or eliminate livestock, zoonotic and foodborne diseases that matter to the poor through the generation and use of knowledge, technologies and products, leading to higher farmer incomes and better health and nutrition for consumers and livestock.

While most of their research outputs are published as peer-reviewed journal articles, the program scientists also publish their findings in other formats including books, book chapters, conference proceedings, infographics, presentations, posters, reports, theses and videos. These outputs are all indexed in CGSpace, an open access institutional repository of agricultural research outputs.

The scientists are also increasingly making use of preprints to share their research via open access. In line with the theme of Open Access Week, we present below a curated list of preprints by scientists from ILRI’s Animal and Human Health program and research partners, to highlight the contribution of these outputs to open knowledge and open science.

  • Ejigu, B.A., Asfaw, M.D., Cavalerie, L., Abebaw, T., Nanyingi, M. and Baylis, M. Assessing the impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI) on the dynamics of COVID-19: A mathematical modelling study in the case of Ethiopia. medRxiv preprint. https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.11.16.20231746
  • Kibugu, J.K., Mburu, D., Munga, L.K., Kurgat, R., Mukasa, B., Lusweti, F.N., Grace, D. and Lindahl, J. Food-borne mycotoxin hazards in the Kenyan market: A retrospective study. bioRxiv preprint. https://doi.org/10.1101/773747
  • Muloi, D., Wee, B., McClean, D., Ward, M., Pankhurst, L., Phan, H., Ivens, A., Kivali, V., Kiyonga, A., Ndinda, C., Gitahi, N., Ouko, T., Hassell, J., Imboma, T., Akoko, J., Karani, M., Njoroge, S., Muinde, P., Nakamura, Y., Alumasa, L., Öhgren, E., Amanya, F., Ogendo, A., Wilson, D., Bettridge, J., Kiiru, J., Kyobutungi, C., Tacoli, C., Kang’ethe, E., Davila, J., Kariuki, S., Robinson, T., Rushton, J., Woolhouse, M. and Fèvre, E.M. Landscape genomics of Escherichia coli in livestock-keeping households across a rapidly developing urban city. InReview preprint. https://doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-172737/v1
  • Mutembei, A., Mutai, F.K., Mwololo, D., Muriuki, J., Obonyo, M., Kairu-Wanyoike, S.W., Wainaina, M., Lindahl, J., Ontiri, E., Bukachi, S., Njeru, I., Karanja, J., Sang, R., Grace, D. and Bett, B. Leptospira spp. seroprevalence in humans involved in a cross-sectional study in Garissa and Tana River Counties, Kenya. bioRxiv preprint. https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.07.17.208363
  • Njaramba, J.K., Wambua, L., Mukiama, T., Amugune, N.O. and Villinger, J. Species substitution in the meat value chain by high-resolution melt analysis of mitochondrial PCR products. bioRxiv preprint. https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.01.12.426171
  • Njeru, J., Nthiwa, D., Akoko, J., Oyas, H. and Bett, B. Incidence of Brucella spp. in various livestock species raised under the pastoral production system in Isiolo County, Kenya. bioRxiv preprint. https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.06.25.170753
  • Ogutu, H.J., Owiny, M., Bett, B. and Otieno, C. Contribution of livestock marketing chains and role played by stakeholders’ knowledge, attitude and practice in spreading cystic hydatidosis to Busia Town, Kenya, 2018. bioRxiv preprint. https://doi.org/10.1101/638502
  • Talenti, A., Powell, J., Hemmink, J.D., Cook, E.A.J., Wragg, D., Jayaraman, S., Paxton, E., Ezeasor, C., Obishakin, E.T., Agusi, E.R., Tijjani, A., Marshall, K., Fisch, A., Ferreira, B., Qasim, A., Chaudhry, U.N., Wiener, P., Toye, P., Morrison, L.J., Connelley, T. and Prendergast, J. A cattle graph genome incorporating global breed diversity. bioRxiv preprint. https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.06.23.449389 
  • Xie, S., Tao, D., Fu, Y., Xu, B., Tang, Y., Steinaa, L., Hemmink, J.D., Pan, W., Huang, X., Nie, X., Zhao, C., Ruan, J., Zhang, Y., Han, J., Fu, L., Ma, Y., Li, X., Liu, X. and Zhao, S. Rapid visual CRISPR assay: a naked-eye colorimetric detection method for nucleic acids based on CRISPR/Cas12a and convolutional neural network. bioRxiv preprint. https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.07.17.452802

Photo credit: International Open Access Week

The health impacts of climate change are getting worse, exposing communities around the world to greater risks of food and water insecurity, heatwaves and the spread of infectious diseases, according to a new report by the Lancet Countdown.

The Lancet Countdown is an international, multidisciplinary collaboration of leading researchers from 43 academic institutions and United Nations agencies that independently monitors the health consequences of a changing climate and publishes its findings in an annual report.

The 2021 report of the Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: code red for a healthy future was launched at a virtual event held on 21 October 2021. The report tracks 44 indicators of health impacts that are directly linked to climate change, across five key thematic groups:

  • climate change impacts, exposures and vulnerability;
  • adaptation planning and resilience for health;
  • mitigation actions and health co-benefits;
  • economics and finance; and
  • public and political engagement.

The report notes that key trends are getting worse across every indicator, affecting people in all corners of the world.

For example, the potential for outbreaks of dengue, chikungunya and Zika is increasing most rapidly in countries with a very high human development index, including European countries.

Suitability for malaria infections is increasing in cooler highland areas of countries with a low human development index.

Coasts around northern Europe and the United States of America are becoming more conducive to bacteria which produce gastroenteritis, severe wound infections and sepsis. In resource-limited countries, the same dynamic is putting decades of progress towards controlling or eliminating these diseases at risk.

The report also notes that there are 569.6 million people living less than five metres above current sea levels, who could face rising risks of increased flooding, more intense storms, and soil and water salinification. Many of these people could be forced to permanently leave these areas and migrate further inland.

In light of these and other growing climate-related risks, the authors of the report call for urgent, globally coordinated action to mitigate climate change and build a healthier, sustainable future for all.

Among the report’s co-authors is Delia Grace, professor of food safety systems at the Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich on joint appointment at the International Livestock Research Institute.

Visit the Lancet Countdown 2021 website to read the thematic summaries and key findings of the report.

Access the full-text Lancet Countdown 2021 report and related articles and resources on the Lancet Countdown on health and climate change website.

Photo credit: Fishing quarter in Maputo, Mozambique (ILRI/Stevie Mann)

Village women and livestock in Niger (photo credit: ILRI/Stevie Mann).

A special issue (Aug 2021) of the Scientific and Technical Review journal of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) turns the spotlight on the operation of veterinary services in a world affected by various external factors such as climate change and emerging zoonotic diseases.

The COVID-19 pandemic has drawn the world’s attention to the threat of emerging zoonotic diseases and the importance of a One Health approach in preventing and responding to these and other global health challenges.

Veterinary services are a global public good underpinning animal agriculture. Therefore, governments need to ensure the sustained performance and resilience of veterinary services in the face of external factors.

The special issue was edited by three scientists from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI): Delia Grace (also affiliated with the Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich), Hu Suk Lee and Jimmy Smith.

The 18 open access articles in the special issue—10 of which were co-authored by ILRI scientists—take an in-depth look at the implications of key external factors on veterinary services; these factors include animal welfare, antimicrobial resistance, climate change, digital technologies, planetary boundaries and zoonotic disease risks.

Future-facing initiatives relevant to veterinary services, such as global nutrition security, animal health and food safety risk assessments, and sustainable development, are also discussed.

Access the special issue: Veterinary services in a changing world: climate change and other external factors, Scientific and Technical Review 40(2).

Photo credit: Village women and livestock in Niger (ILRI/Stevie Mann)

Locally made beef stew sold in Bagnon market at Yopougon, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire (photo credit: ILRI/Valentin Bognan Koné).

The world’s largest publicly-funded agricultural research partnership, CGIAR, is currently developing a series of initiatives to implement its 2030 research and innovation strategy that was launched in early 2021.

The research initiatives are designed to create lasting impact in five key areas:

  • nutrition, health and food security;
  • poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs;
  • gender equality, youth and social inclusion;
  • climate adaptation and mitigation; and
  • environmental health and biodiversity.

One of these research initiatives, Protecting human health through a One Health approach, aims to improve the prevention and control of antimicrobial resistance, foodborne diseases and zoonoses in seven target countries: Bangladesh, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Uganda and Vietnam.

The development of the One Health initiative is being led by a team of scientists from four CGIAR research centres — the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and WorldFish — in collaboration with external research partners from Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques en Côte d’Ivoire, EcoHealth Alliance and the University of Liverpool.

To ensure alignment of the proposed initiative with national priorities, the team convened a series of online consultative meetings with research collaborators to gain insights on the main One Health priorities, challenges, interventions and partner organizations in the respective countries.

The Côte d’Ivoire meeting, hosted by ILRI, took place on Thursday 12 August 2021, bringing together some 35 participants from government ministries, universities as well as national and international research organizations.

Dieter Schillinger, ILRI’s deputy director general for biosciences research and development, opened the meeting with a word of welcome and an overview of CGIAR’s 2030 research and innovation strategy that will guide the implementation of the 33 new research initiatives, including that on One Health—the focus of the online consultation.

He mentioned that the development of the One Health research initiative is a collaborative process and ILRI is working closely with other CGIAR research centres as well as external partners from research and academia, including those represented at the meeting. He therefore welcomed feedback and suggestions from the participants to ensure the research of the One Health initiative is relevant and impactful.

Hung Nguyen, co-leader of ILRI’s Animal and Human Health program, followed with an overview of the rationale of the One Health initiative, citing the need for a One Health approach to tackle the complexity of the global public health challenges posed by the rising incidence of antimicrobial resistance, foodborne diseases and zoonoses.

He then outlined the three main objectives of the One Health initiative, namely, to generate evidence for decision-making; evaluate impacts of One Health approaches; and scale up innovations into national policies and programs.

He further highlighted the initiative’s Theory of Change, explaining how the research outputs are expected to lead to specific development outcomes and impact by 2030, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The team estimates that between 4 million and 41 million cases of disease will be averted annually through the initiative’s efforts.

The initiative’s research activities will take place through five work packages:

  • zoonoses;
  • food safety;
  • antimicrobial resistance;
  • environment (water and wildlife interfaces); and
  • economics, governance and behaviour.

The zoonoses work package aims to pre-empt the spread of zoonoses at the wildlife–livestock interface and reduce the incidence of zoonotic pathogens associated with poverty. Innovations include risk mapping of key endemic zoonoses and developing diagnostic kits for surveillance of zoonoses.

The food safety work package aims to reduce the burden of foodborne disease in traditional (informal) food value chains, with a focus on animal-source foods and other perishables such as fruits and vegetables. Innovations include training and certification of food handlers and traders, promotion of consumer demand for safe food, and behavioural nudges to encourage safe food handling practices.

The antimicrobial resistance work package will focus on reducing the burden of antimicrobial resistance by promoting the prudent use of antimicrobials in crop, fish and livestock production systems. Innovations include surveillance of antimicrobial resistance and communication of evidence on the costs and benefits of rational use of antimicrobials

The environment work package will focus on improving land use and water management to reduce health risks such as antimicrobial residues and zoonotic pathogens. Approaches will include recovery and reuse of animal waste to prevent water pollution and promotion of good practices to ensure the safe use of marginal quality water.

The economics, governance and behaviour work package aims to understand the drivers of people’s behaviour within food systems and the impact of policies and governance approaches on this behaviour. An example of an innovation under this work package is a performance management system for government officials responsible for implementing surveillance and enforcing regulations on antimicrobial use or food safety. Another innovation is a system to ensure inclusion of small-scale farmers, traders, food vendors and vulnerable groups so that they benefit from One Health outcomes.

During parallel group discussions on the work packages, the participants gave feedback on the main One Health challenges, priority interventions, actions to ensure inclusion and partner institutions in Côte d’Ivoire.

Among the main food safety challenges identified were the informal food sector (street foods) and low awareness on food safety. Priority interventions include risk analysis, consumer education and strengthening of capacity to assess risks.

With regard to control of zoonoses, some of the key challenges identified were non-compliance with disease control measures and non-adaptation of laws to current challenges. Priority interventions include improved communication among actors involved in control of zoonoses and an effective monitoring network.

Regarding antimicrobial resistance, some of the key challenges identified were environmental contamination through hospital and slaughterhouse waste, misuse of antimicrobials in livestock and aquaculture production systems and lack of surveillance of antimicrobial use. Priority interventions include strengthening of regulation and control of antimicrobial use and increasing awareness on rational use of antimicrobials and the dangers of self-medication with antibiotics.

To ensure inclusion, all important actors in the value chain need to be identified and invited for meetings where they can participate in exchange of information. In this regard, stakeholder mapping and the use of gender-focused approaches will be important.

The identified partner groups to work with included government ministries, universities, hospitals, public health institutes, pastoralists, the private sector, pharmaceutical companies and food manufacturers.

As the meeting ended, Vessaly Kallo, deputy director of animal health at the Directorate of Veterinary Services, lauded the proposed CGIAR One Health initiative. He noted that the initiative’s activities would support the implementation of a One Health multisectoral platform in Côte d’Ivoire.

Once approved, the CGIAR One Health initiative will start in January 2022 and run for an initial three years.

For more information, please contact Hung Nguyen (h.nguyen@cgiar.org) or Vivian Hoffmann (v.hoffmann@cgiar.org).

Access the meeting notes and presentation slides

Citation

ILRI, IFPRI, IWMI and WorldFish. 2021. Côte d’Ivoire stakeholder consultation on a proposed CGIAR One Health initiative. Nairobi, Kenya: ILRI. https://hdl.handle.net/10568/114915

Photo credit: Locally made beef stew sold in Bagnon market at Yopougon, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire (ILRI/Valentin Bognan Koné)

Makara market in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

On 1–2 September 2021, the World Health Organization regional office for Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific hosted a bi-regional advocacy meeting on risk mitigation in traditional food markets in the Asia Pacific region.

Traditional food markets are an important source of affordable, fresh food and contribute to the nutrition, health and livelihoods of many people. However, there are often concerns about the safety of food sold in these markets on account of inadequate facilities and weak food safety regulation.

The objectives of the meeting were to:

  • support national authorities to advocate for improved traditional food markets;
  • discuss strategies to mitigate the risks of unsafe food and spillover of pathogens;
  • present a manual to support risk assessment and mitigation in traditional food markets; and
  • share lessons from member states on improving traditional food markets.

Hung Nguyen-Viet, co-leader of the Animal and Human Health program at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), presented an overview of traditional food markets in Asia Pacific, with reference to research projects by ILRI and partners on improving food safety and reducing risks in informal markets in Cambodia and Vietnam.

Citation

Hung Nguyen-Viet, Lindahl, J., Unger, F. and Grace, D. 2021. Overview of traditional food markets in Asia Pacific. Presentation at a bi-regional advocacy meeting on risk mitigation in traditional food markets in the Asia Pacific region, 1–2 September 2021. Nairobi, Kenya: ILRI.

Photo credit: Makara market in Phnom Penh, Cambodia (ILRI/Hardisman Dasman)

A live chicken vendor weighs a chicken in Hung Yen province, Vietnam (photo credit: ILRI/Nguyen Ngoc Huyen).

As countries around the world continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, scientists at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), in collaboration with national and international research partners, are contributing to the growing body of knowledge on COVID-19 and its impacts on health and food safety.

Listed below is a range of recent research outputs on COVID-19 authored and co-authored by scientists from ILRI’s Animal and Human Health program.

Book chapter

  • Bett, B., Randolph, D. and McDermott, J. 2020. Africa’s growing risk of diseases that spread from animals to people. In: Swinnen, J. and McDermott, J. (eds), COVID-19 and global food security. Washington, D.C.: IFPRI. pp. 124–128. https://hdl.handle.net/10568/108990

Discussion paper

  • Mutua, F., Kang’ethe, E. and Grace, D. 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic and its implications for food safety in East Africa. ILRI Discussion Paper 40. Nairobi, Kenya: ILRI. https://hdl.handle.net/10568/113789

News commentary

Peer-reviewed articles in journals

  • Chen, X., Hu, W., Yang, M., Ling, J., Zhang, Y., Deng, L., Li, J., Lundkvist, Å., Lindahl, J.F. and Xiong, Y. 2021. Risk factors for the delayed viral clearance in COVID-19 patients. Journal of Clinical Hypertension 23(8): 1483–1489. https://hdl.handle.net/10568/114129
  • Hoffman, T., Nissen, K., Krambrich, J., Rönnberg, B., Akaberi, D., Esmaeilzadeh, M., Salaneck, E., Lindahl, J. and Lundkvist, Å. 2020. Evaluation of a COVID-19 IgM and IgG rapid test; an efficient tool for assessment of past exposure to SARS-CoV-2. Infection Ecology & Epidemiology 10(1): 1754538. https://hdl.handle.net/10568/107986
  • Kibugu, J., Munga, L., Mburu, D., Grace, D. and Lindahl, J. 2021. Exposure to chronic dietary aflatoxin poisoning is potentially a compromising condition in COVID-19 patients in Africa. African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development 21(6). Letter to the Editor. https://hdl.handle.net/10568/114619
  • Koopmans, M., Daszak, P., Dedkov, V.G., Dwyer, D.E., Farag, E., Fischer, T.K., Hayman, D.T.S., Leendertz, F., Maeda, K., Hung Nguyen-Viet and Watson, J. 2021. Origins of SARS-CoV-2: window is closing for key scientific studies. Nature 596(7873): 482–485. https://hdl.handle.net/10568/114794
  • Lindahl, J.F., Hoffman, T., Esmaeilzadeh, M., Olsen, B., Winter, R., Amer, S., Molnár, C., Svalberg, A. and Lundkvist, Å. 2020. High seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in elderly care employees in Sweden. Infection Ecology & Epidemiology 10(1): 1789036. https://hdl.handle.net/10568/108957
  • Lindahl, J.F., Olsen, B. and Lundkvist, Å. 2020. COVID-19—a very visible pandemic. Lancet 396(10248): e16. https://hdl.handle.net/10568/109372
  • Ling, J., Hickman, R.A., Li, J., Lu, X., Lindahl, J.F., Lundkvist, Å. and Järhult, J.D. 2020. Spatio-temporal mutational profile appearances of Swedish SARS-CoV-2 during the early pandemic. Viruses 12(9): 1026. https://hdl.handle.net/10568/109753

Popular science articles

Posters

  • Okoth, E. and Oyola, S. 2020. Repurposing ILRI labs to support national COVID-19 testing in Kenya. Poster prepared for the Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock Africa 1 regional online meeting, 2-3 September 2020. Nairobi, Kenya: ILRI. https://hdl.handle.net/10568/109214
  • Sharma, G., Dey, T.K., Garlapati, S., Grace, D., Shome, R. and Lindahl, J.F. 2020. Secondary effects of COVID-19 on One Health. Poster presented at the virtual edition of the 6th World One Health Congress, 30 October–3 November 2020. https://hdl.handle.net/10568/110068

Video

Webinar presentations

  • Grace, D. 2020. Envisioning One Health post-COVID. Contribution to a webinar by Pontifical Catholic University, Chile on COVID-19: One Health and Our Future, 30 July 2020. https://hdl.handle.net/10568/109148
  • Grace, D. 2020. The role of data in predicting and responding to emerging zoonotic diseases. Contribution to an online discussion: How can the Livestock Data for Decisions community respond to COVID-19? 27 May 2020. https://hdl.handle.net/10568/109149
  • Grace, D. 2021. Food safety in the era of COVID-19: Ensuring consumers’ trust. Keynote presentation at a webinar on ‘Food safety in the context of sustainable food systems: Moving forward for a healthy tomorrow in Europe and Central Asia’, 7 June 2021. Nairobi, Kenya: ILRI. https://hdl.handle.net/10568/114792
  • Knight-Jones, T. 2020. Urban informal markets in Africa: Challenges of crisis. Contribution to a roundtable webinar by the International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFoST) on COVID-19 crisis: Implications for food systems in developing economies (Focus on Africa), 17 April 2020. https://hdl.handle.net/10568/108143
  • Nene, V. 2021. Potential impacts of COVID-19 research on livestock health research and innovation. Presentation at a virtual event ‘Building back better: How can public food and agricultural research institutions be strengthened and rebuilt after the COVID-19 pandemic?’, 2 February 2021. Nairobi, Kenya: ILRI. https://hdl.handle.net/10568/114793

ILRI is one of 15 research centres of CGIAR, a global research partnership for a food-secure future. For more information on CGIAR’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, read about CGIAR research on COVID-19 or visit the CGIAR COVID-19 Hub.

Photo credit: Live chicken vendor, Hung Yen province, Vietnam (photo credit: ILRI/Nguyen Ngoc Huyen)

The world’s largest publicly-funded agricultural research partnership, CGIAR, is currently developing a series of initiatives to implement its 2030 research and innovation strategy that was launched in early 2021.

The research initiatives are designed to create lasting impact in five key areas:

  • nutrition, health and food security;
  • poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs;
  • gender equality, youth and social inclusion;
  • climate adaptation and mitigation; and
  • environmental health and biodiversity.

One of these research initiatives, Protecting human health through a One Health approach, aims to improve the prevention and control of antimicrobial resistance, foodborne diseases and zoonoses in seven target countries: Bangladesh, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Uganda and Vietnam.

The development of the One Health initiative is being led by a team of scientists from four CGIAR research centres — the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and WorldFish — in collaboration with external research partners from Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques en Côte d’Ivoire, EcoHealth Alliance and the University of Liverpool.

To ensure alignment of the proposed initiative with national priorities, the team convened a series of online consultative meetings with research collaborators to gain insights on the main One Health priorities, challenges, interventions and partner organizations in the respective countries.

The Ethiopia meeting, hosted by ILRI, took place on Wednesday 11 August 2021, bringing together some 40 participants from government ministries, universities as well as national and international research organizations.

Dieter Schillinger, ILRI’s deputy director general for biosciences research and development, opened the meeting with a word of welcome and an overview of CGIAR’s 2030 research and innovation strategy that will guide the implementation of the 33 new research initiatives, including that on One Health—the focus of the online consultation.

He mentioned that the development of the One Health research initiative is a collaborative process and ILRI is working closely with other CGIAR research centres as well as external partners from research and academia, including those represented at the meeting. He therefore welcomed feedback and suggestions from the participants to ensure the research of the One Health initiative is relevant and impactful.

Hung Nguyen, co-leader of ILRI’s Animal and Human Health program, followed with an overview of the rationale of the One Health initiative, citing the need for a One Health approach to tackle the complexity of the global public health challenges posed by the rising incidence of antimicrobial resistance, foodborne diseases and zoonoses.

He then outlined the three main objectives of the One Health initiative, namely, to generate evidence for decision-making; evaluate impacts of One Health approaches; and scale up innovations into national policies and programs.

He further highlighted the initiative’s Theory of Change, explaining how the research outputs are expected to lead to specific development outcomes and impact by 2030, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The team estimates that between 4 million and 41 million cases of disease will be averted annually through the initiative’s efforts.

The initiative’s research activities will take place through five work packages:

  • zoonoses;
  • food safety;
  • antimicrobial resistance;
  • environment (water and wildlife interfaces); and
  • economics, governance and behaviour.

The work package leaders presented briefly on the goals of their respective work packages, giving examples of planned innovations under each.

Bernard Bett, ILRI senior scientist and head of the ILRI-hosted One Health Centre in Africa, outlined the two main objectives of the zoonoses work package: pre-empting the spread of zoonoses at the wildlife–livestock interface and reducing the incidence of zoonotic pathogens associated with poverty. Among other innovations, the work package plans to map the risk of key endemic zoonoses and develop diagnostic kits for surveillance of zoonoses.

Hung Nguyen explained that the food safety work package aims to reduce the burden of foodborne disease in traditional (informal) food value chains, with a focus on animal-source foods and other perishables such as fruits and vegetables. Planned innovations include training and certification of food handlers and traders, promotion of consumer demand for safe food, and behavioural nudges to encourage safe food handling practices.

Arshnee Moodley, who heads the ILRI-hosted CGIAR Antimicrobial Resistance Hub, noted that antimicrobial resistance is a silent pandemic and many low- and middle-income countries do not have effective surveillance programs, resulting in lack of data on the burden of antimicrobial resistance. She however noted that Ethiopia has a national action plan on antimicrobial resistance. The work package on antimicrobial resistance will focus on reducing antimicrobial use in crop, fish and livestock production systems and reducing antimicrobial transmission from animals to people through food. Planned innovations include the generation of evidence on the economic impact of interventions to reduce antimicrobial use and the development of tools to help farmers use antimicrobials more prudently.

In his overview of the environment work package, Javier Mateo-Sagasta, senior researcher at IWMI, noted that water is a key connector between people, livestock and ecosystems and so the focus will be on improving land use and water management to reduce health risks such as antimicrobial residues and zoonotic pathogens. Approaches will include recovery and reuse of animal waste to prevent water pollution and promotion of good practices to ensure the safe use of marginal quality water.

Vivian Hoffmann, senior research fellow at IFPRI, explained that the goal of the economics, governance and behaviour work package is to understand the drivers of people’s behaviour within food systems and the impact of policies and governance approaches on this behaviour. An example of an innovation under this work package is a performance management system for government officials responsible for implementing surveillance and enforcing regulations on antimicrobial use or food safety. Another innovation is a system to ensure inclusion of small-scale farmers, traders, food vendors and vulnerable groups so that they benefit from One Health outcomes.

During parallel group discussions on the zoonoses, food safety and antimicrobial resistance work packages, the participants gave feedback on the main One Health challenges, priority interventions, actions to ensure inclusion and partner institutions in Ethiopia.

With regard to control of zoonoses, some of the key challenges identified were weak surveillance systems, shortages of drugs and vaccines, budgetary constraints and lack of laboratory infrastructure. Priority interventions include generation of data on the burden of zoonoses, strengthening of institutions involved in One Health, and capacity building to improve the prevention and control of zoonoses within the framework of One Health.

Among the main food safety challenges identified were food adulteration, low laboratory capacity, poor law enforcement and weak food safety systems. Priority interventions include strengthening of food safety surveillance systems, development of a national food safety strategy and strengthening of legal frameworks.

Regarding antimicrobial resistance, some of the key challenges identified were inadequate surveillance in livestock production systems, high burden of infectious diseases and irrational use of antimicrobial drugs. To address these challenges, there is a need to develop antimicrobial resistance surveillance plans for human health, animal health and food safety. In addition, public awareness on antimicrobial resistance is needed to ensure prudent use of antimicrobials.

Among the suggested actions to ensure inclusion were stakeholder mapping, group-based community approaches, addressing gender in community conversations, and increased advocacy to engage policymakers.

The identified partner groups to work with included government ministries, national and international research organizations, universities, bureau of standards, farmer groups, women’s groups, consumer associations and the media.

As the meeting ended, Feyesa Regassa, lead researcher at the Ethiopian Public Health Institute and chair of Ethiopia’s National One Health Committee, expressed his appreciation to the initiative design team for their support on One Health, specifically food safety, zoonoses and antimicrobial resistance. He also expressed gratitude to all the participants.

‘This is a valuable opportunity for Ethiopia to collaborate,’ he noted.

In her closing remarks, Siboniso Moyo, the ILRI director general’s representative in Ethiopia, thanked everyone for their participation towards achieving the objective of helping the One Health initiative design team as it formulates key interventions and work packages. She expressed her appreciation to the organizing team, facilitators and all who worked behind the scenes to plan for the meeting. She looked forward to working together in this and other initiatives with partners in Ethiopia towards improved human, animal and environment health.

Once approved, the CGIAR One Health initiative will start in January 2022 and run for an initial three years.

For more information, please contact Hung Nguyen (h.nguyen@cgiar.org) or Vivian Hoffmann (v.hoffmann@cgiar.org).

Access the meeting notes and presentation slides

Citation

ILRI, IFPRI, IWMI and WorldFish. 2021. Ethiopia stakeholder consultation on a proposed CGIAR One Health initiative. Nairobi, Kenya: ILRI. https://hdl.handle.net/10568/114649

Photo credit: A family leads goats out for grazing in Borana, Ethiopia. (ILRI/Zerihun Sewunet)

A typical mixed crop-livestock farming household, western Kenya (ILRI/Charlie Pye-Smith)

The world’s largest publicly-funded agricultural research partnership, CGIAR, is currently developing a series of initiatives to implement its 2030 research and innovation strategy that was launched in early 2021.

The research initiatives are designed to create lasting impact in five key areas:

  • nutrition, health and food security;
  • poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs;
  • gender equality, youth and social inclusion;
  • climate adaptation and mitigation; and
  • environmental health and biodiversity.

One of these research initiatives, Protecting human health through a One Health approach, aims to improve the prevention and control of antimicrobial resistance, foodborne diseases and zoonoses in seven target countries: Bangladesh, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Uganda and Vietnam.

The development of the One Health initiative is being led by a team of scientists from four CGIAR research centres — the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and WorldFish — in collaboration with external research partners from Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques en Côte d’Ivoire, EcoHealth Alliance and the University of Liverpool.

To ensure alignment of the proposed initiative with national priorities, the team convened a series of online consultative meetings with research collaborators to gain insights on the main One Health priorities, challenges, interventions and partner organizations in the respective countries.

The Kenya meeting, hosted by ILRI, took place on Wednesday 28 July 2021, bringing together some 30 participants from government ministries, universities as well as national and international research organizations.

Dieter Schillinger, ILRI’s deputy director general for biosciences research and development, opened the meeting with a word of welcome and an overview of CGIAR’s 2030 research and innovation strategy that will guide the implementation of the 33 new research initiatives, including that on One Health—the focus of the online consultation.

He mentioned that the development of the One Health research initiative is a collaborative process and ILRI is working closely with other CGIAR research centres as well as external partners from research and academia, including those represented at the meeting. He therefore welcomed feedback and suggestions from the participants to ensure the research of the One Health initiative is relevant and impactful.

Hung Nguyen, co-leader of ILRI’s Animal and Human Health program, followed with an overview of the rationale of the One Health initiative, citing the need for a One Health approach to tackle the complexity of the global public health challenges posed by the rising incidence of antimicrobial resistance, foodborne diseases and zoonoses.

He then outlined the three main objectives of the One Health initiative, namely, to generate evidence for decision-making; evaluate impacts of One Health approaches; and scale up innovations into national policies and programs.

He further highlighted the initiative’s Theory of Change, explaining how the research outputs are expected to lead to specific development outcomes and impact by 2030, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The team estimates that between 4 million and 41 million cases of disease will be averted annually through the initiative’s efforts.

The initiative’s research activities will take place through five work packages:

  • zoonoses;
  • food safety;
  • antimicrobial resistance;
  • environment (water and wildlife interfaces); and
  • economics, governance and behaviour.

The work package leaders presented briefly on the goals of their respective work packages, giving examples of planned innovations under each.

Hung Nguyen explained that the food safety work package aims to reduce the burden of foodborne disease in traditional (informal) food value chains, with a focus on animal-source foods and other perishables such as fruits and vegetables. Planned innovations include training and certification of food handlers and traders, promotion of consumer demand for safe food, and behavioural nudges to encourage safe food handling practices.

Bernard Bett, ILRI senior scientist and head of the ILRI-hosted One Health Centre in Africa, outlined the two main objectives of the zoonoses work package: pre-empting the spread of zoonoses at the wildlife–livestock interface and reducing the incidence of zoonotic pathogens associated with poverty. Among other innovations, the work package plans to map the risk of key endemic zoonoses and develop diagnostic kits for surveillance of zoonoses.

Arshnee Moodley, who heads the ILRI-hosted CGIAR Antimicrobial Resistance Hub, said that the antimicrobial resistance work package will focus on reducing the burden of antimicrobial resistance by promoting the prudent use of antimicrobials in crop, fish and livestock production systems. In this regard, surveillance of antimicrobial use and antimicrobial resistance in animals and animal-source foods is important. Additionally, there is a need to generate and communicate evidence on the costs and benefits of rational use of antimicrobials to support uptake of interventions by farmers and policymakers.

In his overview of the environment work package, Javier Mateo-Sagasta, senior researcher at IWMI, noted that water is a key connector between people, livestock and ecosystems and so the focus will be on improving land use and water management to reduce health risks such as antimicrobial residues and zoonotic pathogens. Approaches will include recovery and reuse of animal waste to prevent water pollution and promotion of good practices to ensure the safe use of marginal quality water.

Vivian Hoffmann, senior research fellow at IFPRI, explained that the goal of the economics, governance and behaviour work package is to understand the drivers of people’s behaviour within food systems and the impact of policies and governance approaches on this behaviour. An example of an innovation under this work package is a performance management system for government officials responsible for implementing surveillance and enforcing regulations on antimicrobial use or food safety. Another innovation is a system to ensure inclusion of small-scale farmers, traders, food vendors and vulnerable groups so that they benefit from One Health outcomes.

During parallel group discussions on the zoonoses, food safety and antimicrobial resistance work packages, the participants gave feedback on the main One Health challenges, priority interventions, actions to ensure inclusion and partner institutions in Kenya.

With regard to control of zoonoses, among the key challenges identified were cross-sectoral coordination among government bodies and lack of adequate funding. Capacity development was noted as an area that needs to be strengthened at all levels. There is also a need to better understand the risks of zoonoses spillover from wildlife to livestock in boundary areas.

The main food safety challenges identified included aflatoxins, chemical contamination and inadequate capacity for effective food inspection. Capacity development was identified as a priority food safety intervention, in addition to strengthening of food safety legal frameworks at national and county levels, increasing consumer awareness and improving water quality and infrastructure.

The discussion on antimicrobial resistance identified the need for evidence on the costs and benefits of reducing antimicrobial use in order to get buy-in from policymakers. Regulation of veterinary drugs is another challenge, as is the enforcement of proper use of antimicrobials. There is a need for consumer education and strengthening of extension and veterinary services.

The use of participatory approaches and tailoring of communication to suit specific target audiences were suggested as some of the ways of ensuring inclusion of small-scale farmers, traders, vendors, women and youth at all levels of the value chain.

The identified partner groups to work with included government ministries of agriculture, health and environment (at national and county levels); national and international research organizations; universities; bureau of standards; farmer/producer groups; women’s groups; consumer organizations and civil-society organizations.

As the meeting ended, Sam Kariuki, acting director general of the Kenya Medical Research Institute, summed up the discussions as having been very engaging and fruitful. He urged the team to focus on practical approaches and leverage on low-cost, effective technologies to ensure that the planned interventions achieve positive impact among farmers on the ground.

‘Think big, but act local,’ he advised.

In his closing remarks, Dieter Schillinger thanked the participants for their contributions and said that the team would build on the ideas discussed and use them to fine-tune the development of the research initiative. He further assured the participants of CGIAR’s continued collaboration with and support of One Health partners in Kenya towards improved human, animal and environment health.

Once approved, the CGIAR One Health initiative will start in January 2022 and run for an initial three years.

For more information, please contact Hung Nguyen (h.nguyen@cgiar.org) or Vivian Hoffmann (v.hoffmann@cgiar.org).

Access the meeting notes and presentation slides

Citation

ILRI, IFPRI, IWMI and WorldFish. 2021. Kenya stakeholder consultation on a proposed CGIAR One Health initiative. Nairobi, Kenya: ILRI. https://hdl.handle.net/10568/114650

Photo credit: A typical mixed crop-livestock farming household, western Kenya (ILRI/Charlie Pye-Smith)

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