Launch of the ZDU office and Strategic Plan for Implementation of One Health
October 3rd, 2012. Nairobi, Kenya. On Wednesday 3rd October, 2012 Kenya launched a strategic plan for the implementation of One Health, and also officially opened the country’s One Health office, referred to as Zoonotic Disease Unit (ZDU). At a breakfast meeting held at the Sarova Panafric Hotel in Nairobi at 7.30 – 10.30 am, the Strategic Plan was unveiled jointly by the Honorable Dr Mohamed Kuti, Minister for Livestock Development, and Mr Mark Borr, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation who represented the Minister, Hon Beth Mugo. Thereafter, the chief guests performed a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open the ZDU office which is located on Government of Kenya grounds on adjacent to the Kenyatta National Hospital campus next to the Division of Disease Surveillance and Response of the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation.
Other senior guests that attended the colorful event included Mrs Eunice Koech, Acting Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Livestock Development; Dr Shanaaz Sharif, Director of Public Health and Sanitation; Dr Peter Ithondeka, Director of Veterinary Services; Mr Isaiah Parnell, U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission of the American Embassy in Nairobi; David Baden, Deputy Country Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Dr Joyce Onsongo representing Country Representatives of the World Health Organization (WHO); and Dr Joseph Njuguna representing the country head of the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and Dr Walter Masiga, regional head of World Organization for animal health (OIE), and all provincial directors in charge of humans and animal health in Kenya. Also present were key United States’ partners that have supported the process of creating the One Health office in Kenya including Dr Erin Sorrell representing the Biosecurity Engagement Program of the Department of State, and Mr Lance Brooks and Mr Jed Royal representing the Cooperative Biological Engagement Program of the Department of Defense.
Tracing the journey Kenya has followed since 2006 to achieve the One Health office, Dr Willis Akhwale, Head of the Department of Disease Prevention and Control in the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation, described the event as a fitting conclusion of the journey.
Minister Beth Mugo observed that ZDU reflected her ministry’s commitment to enhanced collaboration between human and animal health in reducing the burden of zoonotic diseases in Kenya. She reiterated that successful implementation of the Strategic plan would contribute significantly to the overall goal of improving public health, food safety and security, and the livelihoods of Kenyans.
Dr. Mohamed Kuti reiterated that the importance of the ZDU was in strengthening surveillance, prevention, and control of zoonotic diseases in the country. This would help the country in achieving both the millennium development goals and vision 2030, he observed. The Minister observed that the Ministry of Livestock Development was in the process of developing the veterinary policy for the country, which would incorporate One Health approach.
The logistics and coordination of the ZDU launch, including the year-long process of finalizing the strategic plan were supported by Global Implementation Solutions (GIS).