Prioritization of zoonoses for multisectoral, One Health collaboration in Somalia, 2023
The population of Somalia is vulnerable to zoonoses due to a high reliance on animal husbandry. This disease risk is exacerbated by relatively low income (poverty) and weak state capacity for health service delivery in the country as well as climate extremes and geopolitical instability in the region. To address this threat to public health efficiently and effectively, it is essential that all sectors have a common understanding of the priority zoonotic diseases of greatest concern to the country.
Representatives from human, animal (domestic and wildlife), agriculture, and environmental health sectors undertook a multi-sectoral prioritization exercise using the One Health Zoonotic Disease Prioritization tool developed by the US CDC. The process involved: reviewing available literature and creating a longlist of zoonotic diseases for potential inclusion; developing and weighting criteria for establishing the importance of each zoonoses; formulating categorical questions (indicators) for each criteria; scoring each disease according to the criteria; and finally ranking the diseases based on the final score. Participants then brainstormed and suggested strategic action plans to prevent, and control prioritized zoonotic diseases.
Thirty-three zoonoses were initially considered for prioritization. Final criteria for ranking included: 1) socioeconomic impact (including sensitivity) in Somalia; 2) burden of disease in humans in Somalia); 3) availability of intervention in Somalia; 4) environmental factors/determinants; and 5) burden of disease in animals in Somalia. Following scoring of each zoonotic disease against these criteria, and further discussion of the OHZDP tool outputs, seven priority zoonoses were identified for Somalia: Rift Valley fever, Middle East respiratory syndrome, anthrax, trypanosomiasis, brucellosis, zoonotic enteric parasites (including Giardia and Cryptosporidium), and zoonotic influenza viruses.
The final list of seven priority zoonotic diseases will serve as a foundation for strengthening One Health approaches for disease prevention and control in Somalia. It will be used to: shape improved multisectoral linkages for integrated surveillance systems and laboratory networks for improved human, animal, and environmental health; establish a multisectoral public health emergency preparedness and response plans using One Health approaches; and enhance workforce capacity to prevent, control and respond to priority zoonotic diseases.