County Government officers drawn from the departments of Public Health and Veterinary Service in conjunction with International Rescue Committee(IRC) are currently training 18 community mobilizers in Lodwar on community based surveillance with special focus on human and animal health.

The community health workers will also review progress made on the One Health Program in Turkana that is being jointly implemented by the County Directorates of Public Health and Veterinary Service. One Health (OH) approach integrates human, animal and environmental approaches to management of zoonotic diseases as part of a strategy to prevent and control emerging infectious diseases.

The two-days workshop,which started yesterday was officially opened by County Director for Veterinary Services Dr.Benson Longor and IRC’s manager for Lodwar Project Antony Wachira. The community mobilizers are from Turkana West,Loima and Kibish Sub-Counties.

In his opening remarks,Dr.Longor acknowledged the role played by livestock stakeholders including IRC,TUPADO and LOKADO to enhance and strengthen animal health in Turkana through complementing County Government’s regular activities that include vaccination,treatment and clinic ambulatory services to the pastoral community.

Director Longor revealed of a paradigm shift on treatment of livestock that he said was now data supported and evidence based unlike in the past where the Government and Non-Governmental organisation used to do mass treatment and vaccination.

While briefing the participants of the milestones made towards zeroing livestock diseases through the e~surveillance reporting system, Dr.Longor said training of more Community Diseases Reporters(CDRs) on reporting and prevention of zoonotic diseases was a stop-gap measure on community based surveillance that would help reporting and control of diseases like Riftvalley Fever and brucellosis under the One-Health Program.

To decentralize services to Sub-Counties,Dr. Longor said that Veterinary Services directorate had constructed cold chain stores in Lokitaung,Lokichar and Lodwar to help in storage of veterinary drugs and vaccines so that herders can access easily especially during diseases outbreak.

Through a Public Private Partnership between the County Government and VSF-Germany , a drug store is being constructed at Lokamarinyang area of Kibish Sub-County.

On his part,Mr. Wachira said that Turkana was recently flagged as one of the counties that were doing best on diseases surveillance and further expressed the organization commitment to continue partnering with the County Government to train more Community health workers.

He emphasized on the need by livestock stakeholders to integrate reporting on human and animal health diseases to boost surveillance to narrow down spread of zoonotic diseases in the region.

Public health trainers used the occasion to brief the community mobilizers on the wide spread of the novel corona virus and urged them to take lead in creating awareness of the danger and symptoms of the virus that was first reported in china,last year.

The Turkana County government has realize the importance of one health approach in order to enhance collaborations of both ministries of health and Ministry of Agriculture, pastoral economy and fisheries in dealing with Emergency Zoonotic diseases with the support of partners.

The one health secretariat at the county will coordinate with both Ministries at national level through Zoonotic Disease Units. Internationally, the OH approach is spearheaded by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).