The goal of the project is to enable Kenya develop an effective surveillance programme for zoonotic diseases. To achieve this goal, the project works in close collaboration with Kenyan government departments, in western Kenya initially and using this as a model for a national program.
Continuing changes to livestock production systems in Kenya and elsewhere to satisfy increased demand for livestock products affect the risk of zoonoses and other infectious diseases. The most important changes are the commercialisation and intensification of what was previously subsistence farming, changes in trading patterns (e.g. the distances that livestock and their products are transported), and changes in favoured breeds. There is, therefore, a pressing need for good surveillance of zoonoses in order to establish their true burden, how that is changing and to support control measures.
Researchers from the United Kingdom and Kenya are joining forces with Kenyan government departments to provide evidence that an enhanced surveillance system can contribute to improving public health in a cost-effective manner. They will achieve this by increasing awareness of zoonoses, improving diagnostic support (including developing new diagnostic assays), enhancing the recording, storage, analysis, interpretation and sharing of data, and bringing about closer integration between the human and animal health sectors.
During the five year project researchers working in western Kenya will closely monitor, model and optimise the enhanced surveillance system’s performance, and undertake a comprehensive economic analysis of the activities. The evidence will contribute to a better understanding and anticipation of changes in zoonotic disease burdens, and to recommendations for effective interventions.
The research will also provide a platform for Kenyan public and animal health workers to get hands-on training and to become familiar with a multidisciplinary One Health approach to surveillance, creating a cadre of individuals with first-hand experience of this way of working.