Press Release: Closure of Afrique One-ASPIRE 

27 June 2022

Press Release                                                                        

“For immediate release”                                                                   Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 25 June 2022


Closure of Afrique One-ASPIRE 

After six years of capacity building on One Health for the benefit of health researchers and practitioners in Africa, Afrique One-ASPIRE will officially close on 30 June 2022.

Afrique One-ASPIRE Management Board mobilised its community of practice from 23 to 25 June 2022, in Yamoussoukro, Côte d’Ivoire, for an international scientific closing meeting. The different activities carried out during this meeting allowed the donors, authorities and actors present to inquire about the progress made.

“During these two days, we were able to share experiences and the results of our work. This has enabled us to show the comparative advantages of the different areas in which we work and to consolidate the network that we have established over the past few years. This network will certainly help boost research and represent the basis for future generations”, Prof Bassirou Bonfoh, Director of Afrique One – ASPIRE

Considering that health problems in Africa result from interactions between humans, animals and their environment, the programme has focused on one health in order to find and provide answers. Officially launched in July 2016, Afrique One-ASPIRE aimed to develop tools and methods for the elimination of endemic zoonoses (diseases that can be transmitted between animals and humans).

Over the past six years (2016 – 2022), Afrique One-ASPIRE has brought together and trained 72 researchers (Master, PhD, Postdoc) from a dozen countries in West, East and Central Africa. Five thematic training programmes have been set up and implemented. These are Rabies elimination, Brucellosis control, Zoonotic and environmental mycobacteria management, Food safety and metabolic diseases management and finally disease surveillance and response systems.

According to the WHO, more than 75% of the epidemics and pandemics that have affected humans in the last decade have originated from animals or animal products. It has been shown that actions to combat these diseases have been limited when considering only the medical aspect. This is where the One Health approach holds promise, with its dynamic of transdisciplinarity and collaboration with the human, animal and environmental health sectors. We are pleased with the work done by Afrique One-ASPIRE, especially the ability to bring together researchers from different disciplines and regions of Africa to work on the same diseases and research thematics,” said Prof Brian Perry, Chair of the Afrique One-ASPIRE Scientific Advisory Board.

Afrique One-ASPIRE reborn

“Although the value of the One Health approach is globally recognised, the approach has yet to be put into practice at different scales and beyond the human-animal interface to improve people’s health, livelihoods and well-being. The next steps in the pipeline will focus on building the capacity of African leaders to take collective action,” says Prof. Bassirou Bonfoh.

In order to pursue the actions undertaken, we note the creation of a network of alumni of Afrique One of nearly 200 actors, a stronger collaboration with the media and decision makers for a better appropriation of the research results obtained.

This experience shared during these years by benefiting from a grant to implement my research project has enabled me to develop my career plan. During this programme, we were able to benefit from a range of support in terms of writing scientific documents, conducting research and supervision. In addition to the funding, Afrique One – ASPIRE also allowed us to expand our network, to exchange with researchers from other horizons and to share their experience, to acquire a little more experience in order to be able to implement different programmes on different themes. The programme also allowed us to carry out our activities in a transdisciplinary way, through the One Health approach, by exchanging with other fellows from different disciplines such as sociology and medicine“, Wilfried D. Oyetola, Afrique One – ASPIRE Fellow since 2017.

At the official opening of this closure scientific meeting, Prof Inza Koné, Director of Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques en Côte d’Ivoire, the host institution of the programme, expressed his pride in having hosted Afrique One – ASPIRE. “As an institution, we are proud to have hosted such an important pan-African project”, Prof Inza Koné.

About Afrique One-ASPIRE

Afrique One-ASPIRE is a pan-African programme focusing on research and capacity building on the one health approach. It is supported́ by a consortium of funders including the Science for Africa Foundation and the Wellcome Trust. Through the one health approach, Afrique One-ASPIRE has engaged́ in transdisciplinary collaboration between different actors in human, animal and environmental health, policy makers, civil society with the production of nearly 214 scientific papers, a dozen policy briefs and training of nearly 12,000 practitioners on the ‘one health’ approach. The global partnership has enabled African researchers to contribute to important advances in the understanding of transmission, control and zoonoses.

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Emmanuel Dabo                                                                                          Chris-Emilie Akpli                                                    

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