Daniel Teshome Gebeyehu (DVM, MSc)

Assistant Professor in Integrated Health Risk Management (One Health)


daniel.teshome@wu.edu.et

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P.O.Box: 1145, Dessie, Ethiopia

2020

Ethiopian One Health Research and Training Institute (EOHRTI)

Introduction

The Ethiopian one health research and training institute (EOHRTI) is the newly established institute at Wollo University. The four pillars of EOHRTI are research and innovation, short and long term trainings, national and international relations, and socio-economic and carrier developments. This institute is focused on joint training programs with national and international partners. The joint programs will not be limited to academic institutions, but also NGOs, private companies and domestic and international organizations. The research and training activities of EOHRTI are fully focused on the Ethiopian growth and transformation plans of health sectors (Animal, Human and Environment health), the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs) and the 10 years strategic plan of Wollo University. The institute welcomes both national and international partners who able to contribute to the achievements of the institute’s goals in terms of manpower, budgetary contribution and anything else.

Mission and Vision

Mission

Enhanced capacity for a One Health approach via training, research and outreach to more efficiently and effectively address health risks and burdens at the interface of humans, animals, and the environment.

Vision

  • Capable professionals and institutional systems in one health that support and advance a healthy, enduring local, national and global community.
  • To be center of excellence in one health in Ethiopia by 2030.
  • Objectives of EOHRTI

    General Objective

    • To promote the health and wellbeing of humans, plants and animals within the common ecosystem through multi-sectorial and multi-disciplinary efforts locally, nationally and globally.

    Specific Objectives

    • To produce multidisciplinary oriented, trained man power in short term and long term trainings.
    • To conduct strategic, collaborative, multi-purposive and multi-disciplinary research projects.
    • To generate evidence based strategies for combating common health problems in collaborative, communicative and coordinative approaches
    • To serve as a training spot for national and international institutions/organizations for joint trainings in the area of one health.
    • To create one health related research, community service and academic networks between Wollo University and international/national partners.
    • To ensure functioning national emergency response capacity, as well as a global rapid response support capacity.
    • To develop an integrated one health surveillance system by using national and international standards, tools and monitoring processes.

    Research and Training Thematic Areas

    The EOHRTI in Wollo University has identified different research and training focus areas, which have local, national and global health significance in the area of human, plant, animal and environmental health sectors. As described below, the research and training focus areas arecategorized in3 main themes and different sub-themes under each main theme.

    Health risk analysis and solutions

    • Alternative antimicrobial use and superbug control
    • Zoonotic, neglected, mental and non-communicable diseases
    • Human-Animal-Environment bonds and its health impacts
    • Globalization, Global trades, and Diseases pandemicity
    • Genomics and bioinformatics
    • Food and water safety and control
    • Environmental contamination
    • Translational medicine
    • Animal health and welfare
    • Occupational health and safety
    • Urbanization and industrialization health impacts
    • Ethno-medical and ethno-veterinary practices
    • Drug discoveries

    Ecosystem conservation and biodiversity degradation

    • Biodiversity loss and wild life health
    • Plant and soil health
    • Climate change and its health impact
    • Desert locust re-emergence and food insecurity
    • Water hyacinth invasion of major water bodies of Ethiopia
    • Deforestation and desertification expansion

    Social health, policy and food security

    • Agricultural productivity
    • Water safety and security
    • Disaster preparedness and response
    • Pastoralism and their health and food security constraints
    • One health and health systems
    • Livelihood and food security
    • Health behavior and externalities
    • Public policy and regulation

    Reasons for EOHRTI Establishment

    There are 7 main reasons of establishing EOHRTI under Wollo University.

    1. To support the Ethiopian development goals and the health sectors growth and transformation plan.Ethiopia has a growth and transformation plan of achieving optimal health services and improved public health by 2034 through multidisciplinary approach by shifting the current unilateral health service provision to multilateral cooperation among human, animal, plant and environment health sectors. As a result, the activities of EOHRTI is directly aligned with the Ethiopian development and health sectors transformation plan (GTP II).
    2. The proximity of Wollo University to pastoral societies. The largest pastoral region of Ethiopia (Afar region) is adjacent to Wollo, which is the location of Wollo University. The pastoral people have many interactions with animals and environment (water, grassing land and bush areas), which aggravates the rate of foodborne and zoonotic pathogens transmissions. To mitigate the health risks of pastoral societies, integrated approach (one health approach) among animal, plant, human and environment health workers is the best approach.
    3. The emergence and re-emergence of epidemic and pandemic diseases.The climate change, deforestation, increase population number, desertification expansion and other aggravating factors increase the development of new diseases and the re-emergence of pre-existing pathogens. These emerging and re-emerging diseases can rapidly distribute across the globe due to extensive global trades and rapid global travels that leads to the pandemicity of the epidemic diseases. As a result, the integrations of institutions, sectors, actors and countries across the globe is highly demandable.
    4. The high prevalence of zoonotic and neglected tropical diseases.The high animal-human interaction in unhygienic environment is the common situation in Ethiopia. This situation is aggravating the circulation of zoonotic and neglected tropical diseases among human populations, environment and both domestic and wild animals. As a result, the best solution to mitigate these health risks is multidisciplinary collaboration in a one health framework.
    5. The rise of food insecurity due to natural disasters, drought, and biodegradation. Currently water hyacinth, desert locust invasion, deforestation and desertification expansion are the health and food security crisis in Ethiopia. These multidimensional situations are demanding integrated multidisciplinary approach, which is one health.
    6. Imprudent eating and shared living behaviors of livestock keepers in Ethiopia. 85% of the Ethiopian people are living in the rural area and majority of them use mixed farming and the rest are pastoralist (totally depending on livestock). Due to different constraints, large majority of people are living with livestock in the same room without separating wall. Majority of the Ethiopian people have raw animal products eating behavior. These phenomena increases the circulation of communicable, zoonotic and foodborne pathogens that demands multidisciplinary and multisectoral collaborations in a one health framework.
    7. The rise of common health crisis among animal, human and environment health sectors. The global health crisis, like antimicrobial resistance, non-communicable diseases, cancer, environmental contamination and global warming are the global health challenges. Unless there is integrated, collaborative and communicative approach is used, the health crisis due to these global challenges will be continued.

    What makes the EOHRTI different from other domestic one health institutions?

    One health is currently practiced in some universities of Ethiopia by the help of foreign academic institutions and organizations like FAO, WHO, CDC, and GOHi. Unlike these institutions, EOHRTI is established by the will of Wollo University without the assistance of foreign funders. Thanks to the Wollo University annual funding, the activity of EOHRTI will be sustainable, but the assistance of national or international funders will boost the activities of EOHRTI and broaden its area of interest. As a result, the EOHRTI’s activity will be sustainable and the national and international funders can rely on EOHRTI for the accomplishment of their One Health related missions. In addition, EOHRTI is the only institute that is fully engaged in research and postgraduate trainings while other domestic one health institutions are working on short-term trainings and summer school trainings only.

    Conclusion

    In general EOHRTI is the only one health research and training institute in Ethiopia that focused on the variety of research and training themes. The institute is equipped with multidisciplinary personal man powers across medical and health Science College, school of veterinary medicine, department of environmental health, college of social science and college of agriculture, Wollo University. The EOHRTI is keeping an eye out to national and international integrations for attaining improved human, animal, environment, plant, and soil health.