Borana women with sheep and goats at a traditional deep well water source, Garba Tulla, Isiolo, Kenya (photo credit: ILRI/Fiona Flintan).

The effects of COVID-19 have gone undocumented in nomadic pastoralist communities across Africa, which are largely invisible to health surveillance systems despite their significance in the setting of emerging infectious disease.

A new research paper in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (online first 10 Sept 2020) exposes these landscapes as a ‘blind spot’ in global health surveillance, elaborates on the ways in which current health surveillance infrastructure is ill-equipped to capture pastoralist populations and the animals with which they coexist, and highlights the consequential risks of inadequate surveillance among pastoralists and their livestock to global health.

As a platform for further dialogue, the authors of the paper also present solutions to address this gap. These include the development of an integrated One Health surveillance system that links pastoralists, their livestock and overlapping wildlife populations with centralized disease reporting. Community-based syndromic surveillance and participatory epidemiology would also improve early detection and reporting of disease outbreaks for more timely control interventions.

Citation
Hassell, J.M., Zimmerman, D., Fèvre, E.M., Zinsstag, J., Bukachi, S., Barry, M., Muturi, M., Bett, B., Jensen, N., Ali, S., Maples, S., Rushton, J., Tschopp, R., Madaine, Y.O., Abtidon, R.A. and Wild, H. 2020. Africa’s nomadic pastoralists and their animals are an invisible frontier in pandemic surveillance. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. https://doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.20-1004

Photo credit: Boran women with sheep and goats at a traditional deep well water source, Garba Tulla, Isiolo, Kenya (ILRI/Fiona Flintan)

ILRI scientist Silvia Alonso presents at the 6th All Africa Conference on Animal Agriculture

ILRI scientist Silvia Alonso presents at the 6th All Africa Conference on Animal Agriculture held at Nairobi, Kenya on 27-30 October 2014 (photo credit: ILRI/Tezira Lore).

Scientists from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) yesterday (28 Oct 2014) presented some of their recent research findings from studies on animal health and food safety in East Africa at the 6th All Africa Conference on Animal Agriculture. The conference is being held from 27 to 30 October 2014 at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi, Kenya.

Some 300 participants from all over Africa and beyond are attending the conference whose theme is Africa’s animal agriculture: Macro-trends and future opportunities. The five conference sub-themes are:

  • Youth: The future hope?
  • Which way for smallholder production systems?
  • Pastoral systems: Options for tomorrow
  • Market access: Opportunities for enhanced access to local, regional and global markets
  • Africa’s human capacity challenge for animal agriculture: Which way now?

Silvia Alonso, a postdoctoral scientist with ILRI’s Food Safety and Zoonoses program presented the following two papers:

Results from a study on Kenyan milk consumers’ behaviour and perceptions of aflatoxin were also presented. This study was a joint output of the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health and the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions and Markets.

Additionally, the following ILRI posters on smallholder dairying in Tanzania and pastoralism in Kenya and Tanzania featured in the poster session:

 

Posters by projects in ILRI's Food Safety and Zoonoses program featured at the 6th All Africa Conference on Animal Agriculture

Posters by projects in ILRI’s Food Safety and Zoonoses program featured at the 6th All Africa Conference on Animal Agriculture held at Nairobi, Kenya on 27-30 October 2014 (photo credit: ILRI/Tezira Lore).

 

 

Pastoralism is a farming system practised in arid and semi arid lands by societies that derive most of their food and income from livestock production. About 70% of the land mass in the Horn of Africa is dry land. In Kenya 80% of the land mass is classified as arid and semi-arid while approximately half of Tanzania consists of dry land. These dry lands can only be effectively used for livestock rearing, supporting wildlife resource harvesting and tourism.

The poster below, prepared for the Tropentag 2014 conference, presents findings of a situation analysis of animal health and its implication on food safety in Kenya and Tanzania. The study reports on livestock diseases with high prevalence and their likely effects on food safety and food security in pastoral communities in the two countries. The extent of species rearing diversification, pastoralist trade orientation and practices that may expose the community and their trading partners to animal and zoonotic infections are also explained.

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Pastoralism: Animal health and food safety situation analysis, Kenya and Tanzania

This week, ILRI staff are participating in the Tropentag 2014 International Conference in Prague, Czech Republic (17-19 September 2014). There is also a dedicated ILRI@40 side event on livestock-based options for sustainable food and nutritional security and healthy lives.  See all the posters.