Zoonotic Disease Unit-Road map to One Health
The Zoonotic Disease Unit (ZDU) is a collaboration between the animal health and human health ministries in the Government of Kenya (GoK) whose creation is part of the realization of the One Health (OH) approach in Kenya to the management of zoonoses. The One Health approach has been adopted because of the challenges the country has experienced while addressing the enormous burden of endemic zoonotic diseases, including in the areas of laboratory diagnosis, surveillance and response to outbreaks. The ZDU was created after several zoonotic outbreaks between 2006 and 2010, in response to which a special epidemic response task force was created to manage a co-ordinated response. This task force expanded to form the Zoonoses Technical Working Group (ZTWG) which later recommended the creation of a One Health (OH) office within the government.
The OH office was named the Zoonotic Disease Unit (ZDU) and operationalized in October 2012. Its work remains under the oversight of the ZTWG, which itself is made up of a large number of stakeholders. The vision of the ZDU is to have a country with reduced burden of zoonotic diseases and better able to assess the country’s risk and preparedness to emerging infectious diseases. This includes the development of specific disease control strategies as well as contingency plans. Through the ZDU, the OH approach has gained support and been applied in the response to disease outbreaks of Human African Trypanosomiasis (April 2012), Rabies (March 2012) anthrax (October 2012). Teams from animal and human health participated in the response to Ebola and Marburg haemorrhagic fever outbreaks in a neighbouring country. Prevention and control strategies for rabies and RVF are at advanced stages of development. The ZDU collaborates with research institutions in conducting research on one health. ZDU is currently collaborating with our group in a number of projects:
- The Urban Zoo project whose overall objective is to understand the mechanisms leading to the introduction of pathogens into urban populations, and their subsequent spread;
- The ZooLink project whose goal is to enable Kenya to develop an effective surveillance programme for zoonoses, which is, by design, integrated across both human and animal health sectors.
Contact the Zoonotic Disease Unit:
Zoonotic Disease Unit
NASCOP Compound-Kenyatta National Hospital
P.O. Box 20811 00202 – KNH. Nairobi
Tel: +254-734 938 938