GCRF: One Health Regional Network for the Horn of Africa (HORN)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Liverpool
Department Name: Institute of Infection and Global Health

Abstract

One Health is the concept that the health and well-being of people is linked to the health of their animals and the environment. It is nowhere more true than in the Horn of Africa (Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia) where many people's livelihoods are highly, or in some cases entirely, dependent on livestock. Animals are culturally, socially and economically vital in the region. Livestock provide, for example, over 60% of agricultural GDP in the Horn. Livestock are also a source of human disease. Outbreaks of disease in animals thereby directly affect people's health but also their wealth and nutrition.

Livestock production and human health and wellbeing in the Horn of Africa can be increased through research, leading to improved agricultural systems; more food and less malnutrition; more financial resilience; and better detection, diagnosis, prevention and control of disease.

HORN's mission is to improve the health and wealth of the people of the Horn of Africa by increasing the local capacity to undertake high quality research in the interactions between people and animals - One Health.

HORN aims to develop a One Health Regional Network - a network of individuals and organisations across the Horn of Africa that can undertake high quality research into the link between people's health and wealth and that of livestock and the environment.

HORN will strengthen the ability of organisations to undertake research with a 5 step process.

(i) First, the current research capacity of the organisations will be assessed, relative to their goals; a plan will then be developed to bridge the gap, implemented, and progress will be monitored.
(ii) Following from #1, training will be provided to non-academics in these organisations that have roles that provide the foundations for research: these could be leadership roles, technical roles or other roles, such as in finance or contracts or IT.
(iii) Training will also be provided to academic researchers from the region. Workshops and short courses (2-5 days), 4-8 week masterclasses and summer schools will educate researchers in aspects of One Health, as well as providing the generic skills that underpin high quality research, like research methods, statistics, presentation, grantsmanship. An e-learning platform will enable a wider body of researchers to access the course material.
(iv) Researchers will 'learn on the job' by undertaking research projects of 3-12 months duration. These projects will be co-created (by discussion and interaction with expert academics) at group events ('sandpits'), with successful ideas rapidly agreed and funded. Mobility of many researchers between countries is envisaged, with research focused in specific parts of Kenya and Ethiopia. UK researchers will be based in these countries too, following research programmes aligned with the development challenges, and providing supervision and mentoring to the researchers from the Horn countries.
(v) By bringing people together, encouraging mobility and increasing the number of organisations who bid in for research projects, we intend to develop the One Health Regional Network for the Horn of Africa - HORN.

Planned Impact

Training of researchers from the Horn of Africa in One Health and research methods:
The primary impact of HORN will be the generation of a body of researchers in the Horn of Africa with greater individual research skills, supported by strengthened institutions, and part of a wider regional network. The impact of this will be, we intend, a greater ability of the four Horn countries to research and address the challenges in their own countries of the linkage of the biotic and abiotic environments to human health and well-being. These researchers will be better trained in the entire research cycle, from writing grants to collecting and analyzing data to publishing papers, thereby gaining in ability to leverage local and international research funds, and securing better careers.

These researchers will have the opportunity to receive high quality training in laboratory techniques and access high quality facilities at the ILRI-BecA training hub in Nairobi. This hub provides many technology platforms including genomics, bioinformatics, diagnostics, vaccine development and high containment (BSL-3). Recently, BecA has announced the launch of an advanced genotyping platform aimed at supporting plant and livestock breeding studies in Africa, and provides African researchers with a technology hitherto only found in developed countries.

Strengthening of research institutions:
The strengthening of research institutions will impact directly on a larger body of researchers, and will facilitate the future interactions of these institutions with other organisations in the region and in the developed world.

Delivery of research outcomes:
The people of the Horn of Africa have a dependence on livestock that is unmatched almost anywhere else in the world. Livestock production is, in turn, highly dependent on the local environment and climate. Research on the linkage of the environment/climate/livestock to human health and well-being therefore has a strong chance of generating real benefits to the local population, in terms of better nutrition, less zoonotic disease, greater wealth and more financial resilience.

Building a regional network:
HORN is, to our knowledge, the first One Health network which will reach into Eritrea and Somalia. During the period of HORN, and with the help and support of FAO (see Pathways to Impact) we aim to reach out to other relevant institutions in these countries and make training and research placements available to their staff [funding has been allocated for this]. This approach in Somalia is directly in line with the 2015 British Aid strategy, and will hopefully create a foundation for stronger links between UK and Somali institutions in the future, as Somalia's government gains strength and control.

Strengthening of UK's research capacity
HORN will fund eight UK researchers (seven in UoL, one in LSTM) to work in the region. The UoL researchers will be based in Kenya and Ethiopia, undertaking research in areas relevant to One Health and which fall under the three development challenges. This will serve to strengthen the UK's research capacity in One Health, and strengthen and extend collaborations with institutions in the region.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description International Partnering Awards
Amount £30,000 (GBP)
Funding ID BB/R021279/1 
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2018 
End 12/2020
 
Description AHITI 
Organisation Government of Kenya
Country Kenya 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Our project pays a minimum cost for internships for Government of Kenya trained individuals, who are attached to the project and work on One Health issues
Collaborator Contribution The Government of Kenya provides the human resource, and the training that backs up the interns who are attached to our programme.
Impact Hands on training in the field and the lab; Contributions to a diverse range of project outputs; Capacity development
Start Year 2016
 
Description Addis Ababa University (AAU) 
Organisation Addis Ababa University
Country Ethiopia 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Support to research staff including academic support and co-supervision of research projects, set-up of project office, capacity building support through training of research and research support staff, and ongoing mentorship through placements and exchanges, support to setting up linkages across the Horn region and internationally.
Collaborator Contribution Recruitment and supervision of post-doctoral research assistants and research projects, co-supervision of UoL post-doctoral research assistants, delivery of capacity action plans, provision of facilities, support to training and development activities, participation of senior academics in leadership meetings and annual scientific meetings, and development of networks and linkages across the Horn region
Impact No outputs or outcomes currently, however it is expected that this will result in increased research capacity across the Horn of Africa region at both the individual and institutional level. A number of joint publications are also expected, and joint dissemination of project outcomes.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Hamelmalo College of Agriculture (HAC) 
Organisation Hamelmalo College of Agriculture
PI Contribution Support to research staff including academic support and co-supervision of research projects, capacity building through training of research and research support staff, and ongoing mentorship through placements and exchanges, support to setting up linkages across the Horn region and internationally.
Collaborator Contribution Provision of facilities, attendance at research placements, support to training and development activities, participation of senior academics in leadership meetings and annual scientific meetings, and development of networks and linkages across the Horn region
Impact No outputs or outcomes currently, however it is expected that this will result in increased research capacity across the Horn of Africa region at both the individual and institutional level. A number of joint publications are also expected, and joint dissemination of project outcomes.
Start Year 2017
 
Description IGAD Sheikh Technical Veterinary School (ISTVS) 
Organisation IGAD Sheikh Technical Veterinary School and Reference Centre
PI Contribution Support to research staff including academic support and co-supervision of research projects, capacity building through training of research and research support staff, and ongoing mentorship through placements and exchange, support to setting up linkages across the Horn region and internationally.
Collaborator Contribution Provision of facilities, attendance at research placements, support to training and development activities, participation of senior academics in leadership meetings and annual scientific meetings, and development of networks and linkages across the Horn region.
Impact No outputs or outcomes currently, however it is expected that this will result in increased research capacity across the Horn of Africa region at both the individual and institutional level. A number of joint publications are also expected, and joint dissemination of project outcomes.
Start Year 2017
 
Description International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) 
Organisation International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)
Country Kenya 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Employment of post-doctoral research assistants based at ILRI campus' in Kenya and Ethiopia, provision of financial researchers for ILRI staff and resources for research activities (field travel, vehicles etc), employment of a reader position based at ILRI campus in Ethiopia
Collaborator Contribution Local supervision of post-doctoral research assistants based in Kenya and Ethiopia, project management and administration of project activities in each country, academic oversight and lead of research activities in Kenya
Impact Partnership has recently been developed, and it is expected that there will be multiple research project outputs and support to capacity strengthening initiatves
Start Year 2017
 
Description Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) 
Organisation Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Partnership with the Capacity Research Unit (CRU), at LSTM. Provision of funding for conducting capacity assessments, facilitation of capacity assessments in Horn of Africa, provision of project staff and academics in Horn of Africa to support capacity assessments, development of capacity research questionnaires and tool kits.
Collaborator Contribution Lead of capacity research element of HORN project, including conducting capacity assessments of institutes in the Horn of Africa, production of reports and action plans, and follow up visits to support the implementation of actions. Contribution to annual scientific meetings and project reflective learning processes.
Impact Multi-disciplinary partnership between UoL Horn project researchers (veterinary epidemiologists, social scientists, bio- archaeologists, bacteriologists, public health) and LSTM (hematologist, social scientists, capacity research experts). Outcomes expected are the development of capacity research action plans and subsequent improvement in capacity across institutes in the Horn of Africa (collaboration recently developed, so no outputs or outcomes have resulted currently)
Start Year 2017
 
Description University of Nairobi (UoN) 
Organisation University of Nairobi
Department School of Public Health
PI Contribution Support to research staff including academic support and co-supervision of research projects, set-up of project office, capacity building support through training of research and research support staff, and ongoing mentorship through placements and exchanges, support to setting up linkages across the Horn region and internationally.
Collaborator Contribution Recruitment and supervision of post-doctoral research assistants and research projects, co-supervision of UoL post-doctoral research assistants, delivery of capacity action plans, provision of facilities, support to training and development activities, participation of senior academics in leadership meetings and annual scientific meetings, and development of networks and linkages across the Horn region
Impact No outputs or outcomes currently, however it is expected that this will result in increased research capacity across the Horn of Africa region at both the individual and institutional level. A number of joint publications are also expected, and joint dissemination of project outcomes.
Start Year 2017
 
Description University of Nairobi (UoN) 
Organisation University of Nairobi
Country Kenya 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Support to research staff including academic support and co-supervision of research projects, set-up of project office, capacity building support through training of research and research support staff, and ongoing mentorship through placements and exchanges, support to setting up linkages across the Horn region and internationally.
Collaborator Contribution Recruitment and supervision of post-doctoral research assistants and research projects, co-supervision of UoL post-doctoral research assistants, delivery of capacity action plans, provision of facilities, support to training and development activities, participation of senior academics in leadership meetings and annual scientific meetings, and development of networks and linkages across the Horn region
Impact No outputs or outcomes currently, however it is expected that this will result in increased research capacity across the Horn of Africa region at both the individual and institutional level. A number of joint publications are also expected, and joint dissemination of project outcomes.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Attendance at IFSTAL Showcase Event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Innovative Food Systems Teaching and Learning Showcase event attended to learn more about training opportunities, and applications to HORN training curriculum
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.ifstal.ac.uk/2018/04/10/hold-the-date-ifstal-showcase-event-2018/
 
Description Big Infection Day at University of Liverpool 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact HORN presented as part of a talk given by Prof Matthew Baylis at the University of Liverpool Big Infection Day
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Creating Impact for One Health and Ecohealth: NEOH Final Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Network for the Economic Evaluation of One Health: Final conference. The 3 day workshop, held in Bologna, explored how One Health approaches are being evaluated and implemented, and how to use the evaluation methodologies. These are currently being applied to the HORN prokect
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://neoh.onehealthglobal.net/final-action-conference/
 
Description HORN Project Launch Event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact HORN project launch meeting, between 6th-7th February, held in Nairobi Kenya. Stakeholders and partners from across Horn of Africa region (Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia) attended. The launch event discussed a number of areas, including the role of external organisations and educational institutes, and steps forward with implementing the HORN project. Attendees included ILRI, Addis Ababa University, University of Nairobi, Hamelmalo Agricultural College (Eritrea), IGAD Sheikh Technical Veterinary School (Somaliland), Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and a range of governmental and non-governmental agencies.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Invited participant, BBSRC Animal and Plant Health Challenge meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact BBSRC convened workshop in London in July 2017, with international delegates, to help determine BBSRC's future GCRF activity in the area of animal and plant health.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Salzburg Global Seminar 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Prof Matthew Baylis (UoL) and Dr Dismas Ongore (HORN CO-I at University of Nairobi) attended the event
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description School visit 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact I organised a visit of 30 local school pupils (from an inner city school, Liverpool), to my workplace to see a veterinary school. They visited the equine, dairy, and small animal sections, and we held a Q&A.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description University of Liverpool Impact Week 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Presentation on HORN to the University of Liverpool staff at UoL Impact week. This event aimed to promote a greater understanding of creating impact of international research activities
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018