OHCEA Frontrunners: Recounting 2017 Disease Outbreak Responses and Public Health Interventions | Makerere University News Portal
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OHCEA Frontrunners: Recounting 2017 Disease Outbreak Responses and Public Health Interventions

Student Responders on a boat off Lutembe Beach wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) go out on the lake to collect a dead bird during the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza outbreak in February 2017 Image:OHCEA

One Health Central and Eastern Africa (OHCEA) initiated in 2010, is an international network in eight countries in Eastern, Central and Western Africa, rooted in 24 Institutions in 16 Universities including Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH) in the College of Health Sciences (CHS) and College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB). In 2017 a third Institution, Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) joined the Network. The overall goal of OHCEA in Uganda is to develop a One Health higher education system that will produce a One Health graduate with transformative knowledge and ability to prevent and mitigate infectious disease outbreaks.

One Health is a multidisciplinary and multi-sectoral collaborative undertaking to attain optimal health for our people, our animals (domestic and wild) and our environment. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Emerging Pandemic Threats phase-two (EPT-2) program, through the One Health Workforce (OHW) project has supported OHCEA to implement activities that promote the One Health education approach in Makerere University. Partners at the University of Minnesota (Project Lead) and Tufts University regularly provide support to OHCEA.

Over the course of 2017, OHCEA undertook a series of multi-sectoral and interdisciplinary activities implemented by faculty, undergraduate and graduate students in partnership with government ministries and universities in the US. These included; the Ministry of Health (MoH), Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Industry (MAAIF), Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE), Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), the National One Health Platform, the EPT-2 partners with Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) projects funded by USAID: PREDICT-2, FAO-ECTAD, Preparedness and Response and the USAID Mission, Uganda.

Some of the activities undertaken included creating a new curricu¬lum for the Executive MPH-MBA (Masters Public Health-Masters Business Administration) programme in partnership with the University of Minnesota and teaching principals of One Health to undergraduate and graduate students from CHS, CoVAB, College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS), College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS), College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS), College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT), College of Education and External Studies (CEES) and the College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS).

Other activities included One Health field attachment to the Mpondwe-Lhubiriha and Kasese-Hima communities in Western Uganda where teams sensitized the population on; practices of preventing bilharzia, proper hand washing techniques and Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR). Teams also participated in the redesign of the community slaughter slab in Hima to segregate solid and liquid waste as well as taught communities to recycle charcoal dust by making briquettes. HPV and Hepatitis B immunization campaigns were also carried out among select communities.

OHCEA further supported the placement of 10 Graduate students at institutions such as; FAO-ECTAD-2 project, Amref Health Africa, Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI), AFRISA, ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) and the Uganda National Health Laboratory Systems.

Students also participated in disease outbreak response and public health interventions in partnership with and under the mentorship of the sector Ministry or National and District Task Force which foster One Health approach. Interventions included epidemiology studies on the: Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza outbreak in February 2017; Anthrax High Alert in Arua, July 2017; Crimean Congo Haemorrhagic Fever Outbreak in Nakaseke and Kiboga Districts , September 2017 and Marburg Haemorrhagic fever outbreak in Kween and Kapchorwa Districts, November 2017.

OHCEA also seeks to build skills in risk communication and public health interventions through experiential learning and community engagements. In this regard, students solely initiated and undertook a Rabies Vaccination and Awareness Outreach project in the communities of Kanyanya, Kabowa and Kawaala using a One Health Approach in commemoration of World Rabies Day.

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Summary by Public Relations Office

 

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