In a new book chapter, Delia Grace, a veterinary epidemiologist and food safety expert at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), in Nairobi, Kenya, and the Natural Resources Institute, of the University of Greenwich, in the UK, says animal diseases are a threat not only to the livestock sector of southern Africa, but also to its economy (via reduced benefits from the region’s wildlife resources), and also to human health in the region.
ILRI researchers have been investigating diseases that afflict both people and animals in an ecosystem context for more than 40 years. ILRI’s animal health and environmental scientists have found One Health approaches to highly useful in their work.
Recently, a consortium of Kenyan and international institutions launched a three-year surveillance project on three of those five priority zoonotic diseases with an inaugural workshop held on 3 September 2019, in Nairobi, Kenya.
For almost thirty years, the International Laboratory for Research on Animal Diseases (ILRAD) then ILRI benefited from a strong research program in the epidemiological sciences. Over time, it progressively broadened its coverage in disease, disciplinary and geographic terms. The results of this work have now been assembled in this impact narrative, which carefully documents the wide range of issues addressed by the teams of researchers, and presents them in an illustrated and highly readable format.
A new compilation of 25 studies in Africa finds that informal markets provide essential sources of food and income for millions of poor, with milk and meat that is often safer than supermarkets. Misguided efforts to control the alarming burden of food-related illnesses in low-income countries risk intensifying malnutrition and poverty — while doing little to improve food safety. Blunt crack-downs on informal milk and meat sellers that are a critical source of food and income for millions of people are not the solution.
The University of Liverpool has been given funding to start a surveillance program to reduce the incidence of diseases transmitted between people and livestock in western Kenya. The £3.6 million grant will train veterinary and medical technicians to monitor farms, markets and slaughterhouses. They will use a mobile data collection system to generate a comprehensive database of the prevalence and economic impact of these diseases. The information generated will be used to provide evidence for government health policy in the area.