The project study site is in Siaya County, Kenya. Under Kenya’s devolved governance structure, Siaya is one of 47 counties, each with their own county government.
Building on existing research
Southern Siaya County is the focus of KEMRI’s existing Population-Based Animal Syndromic Surveillance (PBASS) system. Since 2013, the PBASS system has captured livestock illness episodes for selected disease syndromes among 1,500 households. If livestock become unwell with these conditions, households participating in the PBASS study can phone a toll-free number to seek support from a veterinarian. PBASS thus captures disease events in livestock. All of the households participating in the PBASS system also participate in an ongoing Health and Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS), which records disease events in humans.
In summary, the OneHealthWater project introduces monitoring of disease transmission through the environment, alongside human health surveillance through the HDSS and animal health surveillance through the PBASS system. This provides insights into the three parts of a ‘one health’ approach to disease – a healthy environment, healthy humans, and healthy animals.
Siaya County still faces many challenges in terms of human health, animal health, and water and sanitation.
A 2011 household survey suggested that about 20% of children under 5 years had experienced diarrhoea within a period of two weeks prior to the survey.
Findings from KEMRI’s PBASS study suggest that ill health in humans is linked to ill health in their livestock: when livestock are ill, humans are at greater risk of ill health too. Environmental conditions may well explain why such a link exists.
For example, 29% of households in Siaya County were using streams, rivers or dams as their main source of drinking-water,
with 21% taking half an hour or longer to visit their drinking-water source, get water and return.
16% of households were still practicing open defecation, having no sanitation facilities accessible to them.
Through the different project activities, we aim to understand more about these inter-linkages between human health, animal health, and the environment.