Students Visit the First One Health Field Attachment in Ethiopia

The future One Health workforce at Jimma University and Mekelle University experienced the first One Health students’ field attachment in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia’s Jimma and Mekelle universities, with support from the One Health Central and Eastern Africa (OHCEA) network and the USAID One Health Workforce project carried out the first One Health student field attachment that took place in the Ashenge district, Southern Tigray from July 21 to 27, 2016. The attachment involved students and faculty members from veterinary, public health, nursing, and midwifery. Partners from the University of Minnesota and Tufts University participated and facilitated in the attachment, including the customization workshop and training of students.

Dr. Berihun Afera, ‎Associate Professor of Veterinary Epidemiology at Mekelle University, demonstrated exemplary leadership through coordination of various activities and identification and engagement of partners at various levels. Also in attendance was Prof. Gebrehiwot Tadesse, Associate Professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Mekelle University, OHCEA founding and board member, whose presence provided the team with enthusiasm and technical guidance to make the activity successful.

The main aim of the attachment was not only to expose students to the complex nature of health challenges at the human, animal, and environmental interface, but also to create capacity in young health professionals to work in multidisciplinary teams. The purpose of such attachments is to contribute to creating a One Health workforce that will be necessary in sustaining the One Health initiative.

To achieve the objectives of the attachment, the team formed four multidisciplinary working groups namely: Degol, Abay, Bee and Bridge groups — names based on the One Health concept. Using the local structures (leaders and technical staff), teams extensively engaged communities and other vulnerable groups like the fishing community to identify and prioritize health challenges of people, environment, and animals, and to plan and propose intervention measures to address some of the challenges using the One Health approach.

About the Authors

With support from the USAID One Health Workforce project, the One Health Central and Eastern Africa network’s Ethiopia office trains the current and future One Health workforce to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats.