16 February 2021
The 5th annual meeting of the Afrique One-ASPIRE consortium took place exclusively online from 27th to 29th of January 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The meeting’s theme was “Impact pathways of One Health research on zoonoses in Africa” and the fellows presented their findings on One Health research implemented over the past 4 years (2016-2020). Prior to this, the Director, Prof. Bassirou Bonfoh, took stock of Afrique One’s contribution to the capacity building of young African researchers and highlighted the main achievements in science.
Capacity building efforts
In this cohort of African researchers, 72 postgraduate fellows were trained, mentored, and supervised through the programme. Additionally, the programme reached so far more than 7’600 external trainees from our academic institution partners. To date 126 publications are produced of which 45% from the fellows and the rest by the co-applicants.
Significant progress has been made in the control of zoonoses on the continent. The main areas are the fight against rabies, brucellosis, wound management and efforts towards improved nutrition and disease surveillance.
In Tanzania, for example, a low cost tool for the storage of rabies vaccine at ambient temperatures was developed without electricity. . This was complemented by vaccination campaigns and a novel vaccine delivery strategy for hard-to-reach areas as well as a strong collaboration between animal and human health practitioners. In zoonoses control, sniffer rats show promises in detecting Brucella bacteria in samples (blood and milk). In Chad, new tools for an integrated community based One Health Syndromic Surveillance-Response system are designed and under validation. This will be linked to the existing District Health Information System in the country. In Côte d’Ivoire, the link was established between the consumption of a combined orange-flesh sweet potatoes and soy and reduction of the wound healing time.
A 4-day online training followed the annual management board meeting. Fellows first received training in how to assess the scientific and societal impact of their research especially in disease intervention projects. A 3-day hackathon, an online teamwork event where all fellows developed feasible, effective and original disease interventions using the One Health approach.
About Afrique One-ASPIRE
The Afrique One Consortium is a group of African scientists working in universities and research institutions in both East and West Africa. They collaborate with universities in the UK and Switzerland and their research work is funded by the Kenyan-based African Academy of Sciences under the DELTAS Africa research and training programme.