FROM THE AFRICAN
of co-operation cause for
spread of zoonotic diseases
diseases are infections that are
transmitted, either directly or indirectly
between vertebrate animals and humans
REPORT BY XINHUA CORRESPONDENT
(Xinhua) -- The Kenyan government said on
Wednesday that lack of adequate cooperation between
human and animal health has affected the efficiency
and effectiveness of controlling zoonotic diseases in
’s Minister for Livestock
Development Mohammed Kuti who launched the Zoonotic
Disease Unit called on stakeholders to establish and
maintain active collaboration at the animal, human and
ecosystem interface towards better prevention and
control of zoonotic diseases.
many occasions, zoonotic diseases have been viewed
as of importance only when humans are affected yet
animals are the host diseases,” said Kuti who also
launched a five-year strategic plan.
said recent public health events characterized by
various epidemics and pandemics of zoonotic diseases
like Rift Valley Fever, Anthrax and Rabies have
influenced the need for greater collaboration among
human and animal health domains and broader
understanding of the ecosystem and mortality in both
humans and animals.
diseases are infections that are naturally
transmitted, either directly or indirectly between
vertebrate animals and humans.
minister said interaction between humans, animals and
the environment is dictated by very complex dynamics
including animal trade, wildlife hunting and
consumption, human encroachment into new ecosystems,
intensification of animal husbandry and farming, hence
providing specific health risks interfaces.
production plays a crucial role in the economy of
Kenya both at the national and household levels, and
with Kenya housing enormous number of livestock
population ranging to the tune of 8 million cattle,
18 million sheep, 28 million goats, 3 million
camels, 3 million chickens and about 2 million
donkeys therefore it means that the country has the
correct and adequate hosts for the zoonotic
pathogens,” he said.
main objective of the five-year strategic plan, which
runs up to 2017, is to start building a country that
has a reduced burden of zoonotic diseases and better
able to respond to the epidemics of emerging and
re-emerging infectious diseases.
strategic plans are to strengthen surveillance,
prevention, and control of zoonoses in both human and
animals; to establish structures and partnership that
promote One Health approaches; and to conduct applied
research at the human-animal ecosystem interface in
order to better understand the mechanism of
maintenance and transmission of zoonotic pathogens.
’s Minister for Public Health and
Sanitation Beth Mugo said over the last three decades,
over 30 human pathogens have been detected, out of
which 75 percent are of animal origin and are likely
to emerge in the foreseeable future.
like all other living things, are evolving
constantly. It is because of this that we have been
witnessing an increasing number of new infectious
diseases in both animals and humans such as the
pandemic influenza of 2009,” she said.
said the outbreak of pandemic influenza in 2009 in
Kenya within three months clearly demonstrated the
vulnerability of the country to emerging infectious
diseases, some of which she said have not been
prioritized by the human and animal health sectors and
are simply labeled “neglected.”
example, rabies is a zoonotic disease of public
health concern and although cost-effective tools for
its elimination and modalities for use of these
tools are available, we are yet to eliminate it,”
said the animal and human health sector should
increase collaboration in order to deal with outbreaks
of all potential zoonotic diseases that may affect the
Secretary Mark Bor said the veterinary public health
sector is an essential part of health safety and will
assist in the early detection and responses to
veterinary officers and wildlife experts should be
included in the national public emergency management
committees,” Bor said.
noted that following the outbreak of the Rift Valley
Fever in 2006, the government formed the Zoonotic
Technical Working Group which currently meets on a
ministry of public health and the ministry of
livestock have already signed a memorandum to form the
Zoonotic Disease Unit within the government.
will lead to the development of a cross-sectoral
approach to the prevention and control of diseases
among the human and animal ecosystems,” Bor said.
of Health Director of Public Health Dr. Sharif said
the government is seeking to increase the capacity of
the zoonotic disease control unit especially in the
animal health sector which has been traditionally
added the government will also carry out research
targeting animal and human health in order to fill the
gaps in the comprehension of the level of burden and
you read it first at