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One health approach key to enhancing regional health, says MoH

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The Ministry of Health has implemented a One Health approach to enhance health in the Horn of Africa.

Principal Secretary for Public Health and Professional Standards, Mary Muthoni, emphasized the critical need for cross-sectoral and cross-border cooperation to bolster health security at an event in Nairobi on Wednesday.

Muthoni highlighted the interconnectedness of human, animal, and environmental health, drawing lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic on the importance of integrated disease surveillance.

She noted that over 75 per cent of emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic, stressing the importance of early detection and prevention.

Kenya’s susceptibility to zoonotic diseases due to its geography and interactions among livestock, wildlife, and humans was a key point of discussion.

“Zoonotic diseases cost Kenya approximately Ksh. 618 billion annually, with outbreaks like Rift Valley fever and anthrax posing significant threats,” she said.

Kenya’s One Health initiatives were showcased, including the establishment of the Zoonotic Disease Unit, national and county-level coordination, joint research efforts, and disease contingency plans.

The Field Epidemiology Training Program, which provides joint training for veterinary and medical officers, was also highlighted as a crucial component of these efforts.

Muthoni called for increased international collaboration, emphasizing the need for information exchange and synchronized response strategies.

The event aimed to align national policies, secure political commitment, and mobilize resources for joint health efforts, underscoring the importance of a united approach to health security in the region.

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