Nomad health: an Ethiopian One Health initiative

Jijiga University (JJU) in the Somali regional state built up a One Health initiative, aimed at addressing health issues in mobile pastoralist communities. The organisation process is a case study in transdisciplinary cooperation, as some of the people involved describe.

One Health is an approach where human and animal health work closely together in order to reduce risks, save financial means, and improve services. It adds quantifiable value to health systems and is used in many communities involving mobile pastoralists. Setting up a One Health initiative illustrates well how a transdisciplinary process is structured.

Prof. Dr. Jakob Zinsstag talks to Mohammed Ibrahim, a veterinarian and PhD student, who experienced first-hand how the Jigjiga University One Health Initiative (JOHI) was developed. Both share their respective insights into the project.

The first challenge was finding out what to do. After that, all actors needed to identify the priorities. Finally, the process was set up and framed.

The actors came from different levels of the ‘woreda’ or ‘wereda’, the districts or third-level administrative divisions of Ethiopia. All participants shared their diverse experiences in order to design the process. According to the overall goal, the group formulated research questions. The results were then discussed again with all participants. Ideas emerged concerning interventions. The interventions became part of action plans that were again carefully evaluated by the actors and project committees.

For such an endeavour, it is crucial to build trust among the actors. But trust is challenged when there are changes in authorities or agents are replaced. JOHI mastered such challenges – and is now planning the second phase.

Please look at the file attached below on the ‘Timeline of stakeholder workshops’. Consider the process and look again at the principles and methods you have explored in this chapter. What do you observe? What are the TD phases? Write down your thoughts.

Educator: Prof. Dr. Jakob Zinsstag