Jimma University and AFROHUN Ethiopia supported by USAID fund, have been working together for the last 13 years to implement and advocate the One Health approach; an integrated, unifying approach that aims to balance and optimize the health of people, animals, and ecosystems.
Jimma University hosted the inaugural workshop of the Center for One Health Research, Training, and Outreach (JU-COH) at Jimma University (JU) which was established to institutionalize One Health approach and collaborate with similar centers in the world. The workshop was attended by key stakeholders and partners, including Dr. Feyesa Regassa (the Chairperson of National One Health Steering Committee (NOHSC) and the representative of MoH), Dr. Sandhya Sukumaran (USAID Ethiopia’s Global Health Security Advisor), Dr. Berihu Gebrekidan (AFROHUN-Ethiopia’s Country Manager), Prof. Netsanet Workneh (Jimma University Vice President for Research and community services), and delegates from Mekelle, Gondar, Wollo, Bule Hora Universities, representatives from Jimma zone administration, JU senate members and JU community.
The launching workshop started with a welcome and keynote address by Prof. Netsanet Workneh, Vice President of Jimma University. She addressed the importance of the One Health (OH) approach in alleviating global health threats including global climate change, food safety and security, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and other challenges, which requires a collaborative, multisectoral, and trans-disciplinary approach, if optimal health outcomes for people, animals, and ecosystems are to be achieved. Prof. Netsanet also appreciated the support from AFROHUN Ethiopia, and thanked all the stakeholders for collaborating with JU in relation to One Health.
The chairperson of the NOHSC, Dr. Feyesa Regassa, delivered an opening speech, emphasizing the importance of adopting a mandatory OH approach to address emerging and re-emerging zoonotic disease and AMR problems. This is particularly needed as the world navigates the COVID-19 pandemic, Monkeypox, and other emerging health threats that have, and will seriously impact wellbeing of humans all over the world. Representing his office, he also appreciated the efforts of Jimma University and AFROHUN Ethiopia for establishing the center that will definitely contribute and support the national One Health activities.
Global Health Security Technical Advisor at USAID Ethiopia, Dr. Sandhya Sukumaran, also addressed the role of USAID Ethiopia in strengthening the existence of a public health system capable of preventing, detecting, and responding to infectious disease threats, through a commitment in developing a One Health workforce as an integral component of building national health security. Appreciating AFROHUN Ethiopia and Jimma University for taking One Health to high level in the country, she promised that USAID will continue to support and collaborate with AFROHUN, the new center for One Health in JU and similar initiatives in other universities in Ethiopia.
There were presentations on, ‘’Status of One Health activities and One Health Coordination in Ethiopia’; by Dr. Feyesa Regassa,; ‘’AFROHUN Ethiopia: Priority areas, Implemented and Planned Activities’’ by Dr. Berihu Gebrekidan, Country Manager. Dr Berihu, highlighted the genesis and evolution of OH and AFROHUN, and then presented AFROHUN’s vision relating to the OH advocacy, training, and research in the region. Moreover, JU- COH Director, Prof. Seid Tiku, gave a brief presentation on the vision, mission, goals and thematic areas in which the center envisions to be the nation’s leading center of excellence in One Health research and academics for the advancement of human, animal, and environmental wellbeing.
During the discussion, the participants forwarded their appreciation and pledged to support the center for One Health. And all stakeholders were urged to play a vital role in supporting and working with JU-COH, in research capacity building and improving laboratory infrastructure to optimize the health of people, animals, and ecosystems. JU-COH kindly invites all possible local, national, and global organizations to collaborate and work together for the advancement of human, animal, and environmental well-being through the One Health approach.