Cattle being watered at the Ghibe River in southwestern Ethiopia

Cattle being watered at the Ghibe River in southwestern Ethiopia (photo credit: ILRI/Stevie Mann).

Overview
The emergence of new diseases is increasing globally. This is attributed to a variety of factors including agricultural system intensification and concurrent changes in ecosystem dynamics, alterations in market value chains and the accelerating global movement of humans, livestock and arthropod disease vectors.

As the causes of disease emergence are complex, integrated response systems are needed that link a better understanding of pathogen, host and vector diversity and dynamics to improved risk targeting, supporting early warning and improved response capacity. This improved response capacity will require investment in both institutional and individual capacities to adapt and respond to changing disease circumstances.

This project has been developed by a consortium of research and implementation organizations spanning the health, veterinary, wildlife and vector communities in Kenya. Our organizations have experienced challenges in the prediction and prevention of emerging diseases and believe that our performance can be improved by better integration of surveillance, research and response.

In developing such an integrated system, we plan to focus on the surveillance, research and response to Rift Valley fever as an initial concrete example. Rift Valley fever prediction and prevention has involved all key actors in this consortium and has the attention of the public and senior decision makers in East Africa.

Our consortium plans to develop a network of surveillance, diagnostic, knowledge management and decision making platforms linked by key tasks. This network will be effective at improving the prediction and prevention of Rift Valley fever and other arboviruses as well as serving as a model that can be applied and expanded to other emerging diseases in Kenya and more broadly in East Africa and elsewhere.

Objectives
The overall objective of this project is to demonstrate the feasibility of developing a multidisciplinary surveillance, research and response system to enhance the prediction and prevention of emerging infectious diseases, particularly arboviruses, using Rift Valley fever as an initial model. This will:

  • encompass human, livestock, wildlife and vector surveillance to monitor circulation, transmission and maintenance of arboviruses with a focus on Rift Valley fever virus,
  • utilize state of the art genomics and knowledge management technologies and approaches to better understand pathogen, vector and host dynamics and diversity, and
  • link this new information to existing risk information and decision support tools to improve early warning and rapid response.

Expected outputs
Through this project, the plan of the consortium partners is to develop capacities and ways of working that provide synergies between the four major areas required for better prediction and prevention of Rift Valley fever and other emerging diseases. These are surveillance, data management and analysis, diagnostics and genomics, and decision making.

Greater focus and integration of activities will take place in Kenya but the already established mechanisms for regional research collaboration and capacity strengthening will support broader outcomes and impacts across East Africa as well as with international research partners.

Timeline
Start Date: 1 December 2008 | End Date: 1 December 2011

Country/Region
Kenya

Principal investigator
Steve Kemp

Partners

  • Department of Veterinary Services, Kenya
  • icipe
  • International Livestock Research Institute
  • Kenya Agricultural Research Institute
  • Kenya Medical Research Institute
  • Kenya Wildlife Service
  • Ministry of Health, Kenya

Funder
Google.org

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