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, Somalia, and Djibouti) 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.
The HORN teaching curriculum was developed to advance the knowledge and skills of researchers by providing generic, laboratory, and subject-specific skill sets that increase their ability to undertake research using a One Health ethos. To reach a wide body of researchers, the curriculum is delivered through residential Summer Schools covering field skills, residential two-week Masterclass events made up of various workshops, and a series of online eLearning modules.
HORN will strengthen the ability of organisations to undertake research with a 5 step process:
- Undertake research capability assessments of partner institutions in the Horn of Africa to assess the current and target research capabilities, propose plans to reach the target, implement them and monitor progress.
- Provide training to non-research staff from these institutions, including leadership training, placements/shadowing in research support, and training in laboratory skills.
- Advance the knowledge and research skills of researchers from these institutions in generic, laboratory and subject-specific skills.
- Undertake basic and applied research in the area of One Health.
- Create the One Health Regional Network – HORN. The proposed partnership, training of non-research and research staff, and research placements with mobility between countries will develop a regional network.
The HORN project is funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) from the Growing Research Capability call. The project was awarded £7.7 million to improve the health and wealth of people in the Horn of Africa by increasing local capacity to undertake ‘One Health’ research.
The GCRF call aims to build upon research knowledge in the UK, and to strengthen capacity overseas by addressing challenges informed by expressed need in the developing countries.