More than 75% of emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic in origin and a transdisciplinary, multi-sectoral One Health approach is a key strategy for their effective prevention and control. In 2004, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention office in Kenya (CDC Kenya) established the Global Disease Detection Division of which one core component was to support, with other partners, the One Health approach to public health science. After catalytic events such as the global expansion of highly pathogenic H5N1 and the 2006 East African multi-country outbreaks of Rift Valley Fever, CDC Kenya supported key Kenya government institutions including the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries to establish a framework for multi-sectoral collaboration at national and county level and a coordination office referred to as the Zoonotic Disease Unit (ZDU). The ZDU has provided Kenya with an institutional framework to highlight the public health importance of endemic and epidemic zoonoses including RVF, rabies, brucellosis, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, anthrax and other emerging issues such as anti-microbial resistance through capacity building programs, surveillance, workforce development, research, coordinated investigation and outbreak response. This has led to improved outbreak response, and generated data (including discovery of new pathogens) that has informed disease control programs to reduce burden of and enhance preparedness for endemic and epidemic zoonotic diseases, thereby enhancing global health security. Since 2014, the Global Health Security Agenda implemented through CDC Kenya and other partners in the country has provided additional impetus to maintain this effort and Kenya’s achievement now serves as a model for other countries in the region.
Munyua, P.M., et al. 2019. Successes and challenges of the One Health approach in Kenya over the last decade. BMC Public Health 19: 465. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-6772-7