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Caroline Ryan

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Country: Ireland
Background: Veterinary Science

Research Project: The role of community based veterinarians in adopting a “One Health” approach to address neglected endemic disease in Eastern Province, Rwanda

Zoonotic pathogens account for two thirds of infectious diseases in people while more than 75% of emerging zoonoses are the result of wildlife-origin pathogens. A recent surge of interest in zoonoses has evolved with an emphasis on the new and emerging disease pandemics. This interest has evolved as a result of the global challenges of transboundry disease threats. Many international supported projects are starting up in developing countries funding major global programs to support research and building capacity for rapid surveillance and response systems to prevent such zoonotic pathogens escaping beyond their host populations. However within the rural based communities of these same countries a number of endemic diseases affecting people and livestock continue adding to the disease burden. Such diseases including rabies, bovine tuberculosis, brucellosis, cystic echinococcus and anthrax remain neglected.

This research aims to investigate if veterinarians working within their local communities could broaden their role by adopting a One Health approach to address these neglected endemic diseases. The researcher, a practicing veterinarian used a One Health approach to collect primary data by observations and cross-sectional interviews on 100 farms. The data collected was inputted into SPSS for exploratory data analysis and frequency tables and cross tabulations were used to describe it. Inferential statistics were also used out to test the significance of various factors against human and livestock health status.

This research identifies areas where there are weaknesses in farm biosecurity and potential factors that may affect transmission of zoonoses. By identifying factors involved in predisposing people and animals to zoonotic diseases, practical interventions can be taken to control the spread of these diseases across the farm fence or the farmhouse threshold. Due to the frequency of contact and the close relationship with livestock owners within their communities a full appreciation of the potential role of community veterinarians in One Health needs to be fully realised.

Word count: 14,064

Key word: Community Veterinarians, One Health, Neglected Endemic Diseases, Rwanda, Livestock

Last updated 23 November 2016 School Web Administrator (Email).