The 3rd cohort of In-Service Applied Veterinary Epidemiology Training (ISAVET) frontline animal health workers drawn from Turkana, West Pokot, Trans Nzoia, Elgeyo Marakwet, Uasin Gishu, Nandi, Samburu and Nakuru graduated on 8.3.2023. The programme targets veterinarians and animal health workers in the field working at local level. These frontline animal health workers are responsible for collecting data, reporting, detecting outbreaks and applying initial control measures and interventions against priority zoonotic diseases and transboundary animal diseases.
The four months training programme commenced on 6th June 2022 with four weeks of in class training followed by three months of home-based mentored field projects at trainee duty stations. During the 2- day dissemination workshop, which was held in Eldoret between 7th and 8th March 2023, the trainees presented their field reports on knowledge, attitude, practices and perception (KAPP) of communities on priority zoonotic diseases (PZDs) and Transboundary Animal Diseases (TADs), Antimicrobial Use and resistance, One Health, and production diseases. Data quality audit and descriptive epidemiology reports informed by retrospective review of abattoir and laboratory records were also shared by the trainees.
The frontline animal health workers from the North Rift Economic Bloc (NOREB) counties are now better equipped with knowledge and skills to improve the preparedness for early detection, rapid and effective response to disease outbreaks. The program uses applied, hands-on, in-service training to build a cadre of skilled frontline veterinary workforce who can conduct effective and efficient surveillance and outbreak response using a One Health approach. Among the 26 graduating frontline animal health workers were 8 females capping the International Women’s Day celebrations.
On behalf of FAO Representative, Folorunso Fasina, the FAO Emergency Center for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD) Country Team Leader, congratulated the graduands and encouraged them to use the acquired knowledge and skills to improve their communities’ livelihoods capitalizing on the region’s economies of scale in agriculture and trade and the available natural resources. He emphasized the critical contribution of the ISAVET programme in ensuring the key input of frontline animal health workers to global food and health security. He thanked the USAID and DVS for the productive collaborations and promised that FAO will continue to work closely with stakeholders to implement the ISAVET programme in a sustainable way.
In his remarks, Dr. Harry Oyas, the Senior Deputy Director in charge of Disease Control, who represented the Director of Veterinary Services (DVS), lauded the significant contributions of ISAVET to capacity building of the animal health workforce. He urged the trainees to embrace an attitude on best practices for public veterinary services provision informed by best disease data collation, analysis, information sharing and animal health service delivery in Kenya. He added that “as part of capacity building, the DVS through collaboration of FAO have supported the training of three cohorts, from 40 of the 47 counties. He confirmed that the milestones would not have been reached without the great work put in by various stakeholders and people within the ISAVET structure; and took the opportunity to thank the trainers and mentors for the selfless works. He concluded by stating that for program sustainability, there is need for more stakeholders’ engagement.”
“The ISAVET training was very timely for me. It has equipped me with knowledge on field epidemiology concepts and competence to do proper disease surveillance, reporting and response. This will better the quality of veterinary services that I will be delivering to the farmers in my County”. Said Dr Amos Lekukuu an ISAVET graduate from Samburu County.
The third cohort of ISAVET graduates builds on a network of applied field epidemiologists in the NOREB with improved skills to collect, analyse, and interpret data and contribute to evidence-based decisions for sustainable development of the livestock sector dependent region.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of FAO Regional Office for Africa.