Evaluating the competencies of One Health platforms in West Africa

On 1-2 December 2021, the One Health Research Education and Outreach Centre in Africa (OHRECA) of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) hosted a two-day virtual workshop for Mali, Burkina Faso and Senegal to share and validate results collected from an evaluation of national One Health platforms that used a tool developed by the Network for Evaluation of One Health (NEOH).

OHRECA completed evaluations of One Health platforms in the three countries and these evaluations aimed to identify any gaps in the operationalization of One Health by each of the platforms examined based on the framework by NEOH.

The NEOH tool evaluates competencies of the One Health platforms based on six criteria including: One Health thinking, planning, working (operations), sharing, learning, and system organization to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of national One Health platforms.

The meeting brought together 118 participants from government ministries, national One Health platforms, partners and stakeholders working across the three pillars of One Health–animal, human and environment.

Bernard Bett, OHRECA’s team leader and senior scientist at ILRI, opened the meeting with an overview of OHRECA and the work being done in the three West African countries. He mentioned that OHRECA is working closely with the governments and the national One Health platforms in each country because they are a part and parcel of the project. He added that the evaluation will enable the One Health platforms to find out priority areas to focus on, which OHRECA will support.

Michel Dione, a senior scientist at ILRI’s Animal and Human Health program, highlighted that the evaluation of the national One Health platforms is a first step for OHRECA to engage with the government and the platforms. The evaluations will enable OHRECA to identify the needs, challenges and strengths of the One Health platforms and support the platforms and together improve One Health activities in the region.

The evaluation is being done at a time when One Health is increasingly recognized as an effective approach for managing One Health challenges such as neglected and emerging zoonotic diseases, food safety, and antimicrobial resistance.

Gaps identified in the evaluation exercise would be used to develop a competency-based curriculum that will improve the capacity of the platforms.

Photo credit: Livestock graze on an island in the Niger (ILRI/Stevie Mann)