The Turkana County Departments of Health, Livestock Development and Environment held the final validation workshop for the One Health Strategy which will provide direction and a long-term vision to achieving an integrated one-health approach in the county.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), One Health is an integrated, unifying approach that aims to sustainably balance and optimize the health of people, animals and ecosystems. This approach is suitable for Turkana County as the main livelihood for residents is pastoralism.
Speaking while opening the workshop, the County Executive Committee Member (CECM) for Health and Sanitation Dr Anthony Apalia said that he and his counterparts in livestock development and environment would work to ensure that One Health supportive policies and bills were in place.
“The Governor is keen on the implementation of the One Health as it will propel the county into a healthy one for both people and animals,” he said.
The CECM for Agriculture, Livestock Development and Fisheries, David Erukudi, said operationalization of the strategy would be a game changer in mitigating the risk posed by zoonotic diseases.
“The increasing interactions between humans and animals within the environment and numerous factors is exacerbating the emergence, re-emergence and spread of infectious diseases, thus necessitating a multi-sectoral and multidisciplinary approach,” he added.
According to the County Chief Officer of Health and Sanitation, Peter Lomorukai, the strategy will inform the design of future county and partner programs in Turkana County.
“It calls for the leverage of available resources with maximum output for both animal and human health bearing in mind that the current climate change associated challenges have a direct effect on one’s health,” he said.
In a plenary session, Director of Veterinary Services Dr Benson Longor pointed out that the monitoring and evaluation component was essential as it enhanced accountability and learning to determine the best practices.
The partners that supported and attended the workshop include Amref, USAID Imarisha Jamii, International Rescue Committee, World Relief Kenya, Welthungerhilfe, Concern Worldwide and Save the Children.
By Peter Gitonga