The majority of pastoralist communities are located in the Ethiopian Somali Regional State, a rural area in eastern Ethiopia and one of the poorest regions of the country. Although very remote, the rural areas of Ethiopia are economically very important, as they are home to 40% of the country’s livestock and to a considerable variety of natural resources. However, unsafe and scarce water, lack of sanitation, food insecurity and poverty are typical of the living conditions there.
Healthy people and animals in Ethiopia thanks to an interdisciplinary project: Jigjiga University One Health Initiative
Nomadic pastoralist communities, which constitute one tenth of Ethiopia’s population, have little access to health services. In the Jigjiga University One Health Initiative, the SDC is helping to establish local healthcare services by supporting an interdisciplinary centre of excellence at Jigjiga University in eastern Ethiopia.
Health system strengthening
Primary health care
- Pastoralists enjoy an improved health status, livelihood security (livestock-based) and wellbeing.
- Jigjiga University counts with an autonomous, high quality One Health research and teaching department with an own graduate course and funding portfolio.
- JJU staff (17 – both core and support, incl. 5 women) and students (21, incl. 10 women), health sector actors (520 government staff, incl. 150 women), pastoralists (15’000, incl. 10’000 women) of all ages/genders (incl. marginalized groups).
- Additionally, livestock (25’000) in Adadle District (Shebelle Zone) and Shinile District (Siti Zone).
- Jigjiga University (JJU), staffed with competent teachers/researchers, is empowered to deliver One Health (OH) curricula, to fill specific baseline data gaps (through operational research) on pastoralist health, and to influence health policy making within the SRS.
- The Regional Government adopts the good practices empirically tested by JJU in order to deliver better human/livestock health services based on the OH model.
- Pastoralists in JOHI target areas start improving their health status, livelihood security and wellbeing thanks to the uptake of mixed farming models and improved milk and meat processing technologies (within five years).
- Baseline human and animal health data for Adadle and Shinile areas is available (by 2017).
- A small scale mobile surveillance and response system is established (by 2017).
- Small scale integrated health care provision models are tested within the target areas (by 2018) and scaled up (by 2019).
- A diagnostic laboratory is fully equipped and operational within JJU (by 2020).
- Initial trainings of key JJU financial staff on financial management and related software conducted.
- Three community and stakeholders consultations conducted to inform the elaboration of Phase I.
- Detailed stakeholders analysis conducted and synergies with SDC-funded CCM research on One Health identified.
- One fully fledged project proposal for Phase I submitted to the SDC.
- Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute
In Ethiopia, there are about 9 million pastoralists (approx. 10% of the total population), half of whom are located in the Somali Regional State (SRS) alone. The SRS is one of the least developed (emerging) parts of the country, severely underserved in terms of basic infrastructure, and struck by chronic water deficits as well as natural resources degradation. It experiences major human and animal health concerns, mostly attributable to systemic challenges and insufficient understanding of the specific needs of (semi-) nomadic, livestock-dependent populations. Jigjiga University (JJU) is the only teaching and research institution with a national mandate in the region.
(to be achieved within 12 years)
Results from previous phases:
|Directorate/federal office responsible||
Swiss Academic and Research Institution
Multiple Local Partners
Jigjiga University, Armauer Hansen Research Institute
|Coordination with other projects and actors||
Coordination between JOHI and the NGO Comitato Collaborazione Medica (CCM, working on applied research and funded by the SDC) has been facilitated by the SDC since the onset of both projects in order to guarantee scientific robustness of data for future policy-making. JJU strives to become the Horn of Africa center of excellence on pastoralist health and an attractive partner for universities in the region. Synergies within actors in the SRS and beyond, including in the food security sector, will be actively sought.
|Budget||Current phase Swiss budget CHF 2'100'000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF 1'287'829|
|Project phases||Phase 1 01.01.2015 - 30.09.2020 (Current phase)|
Poor human and animal health
As their communities are underserved in terms of access to essential services, pastoralists suffer from health problems, some of which stem from the population’s close interaction with livestock, and others from poor sanitation and malnutrition. Infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis and rabies, are transmitted between humans and animals, and spread by the herds. This jeopardises food security and threatens the very existence of the pastoralists.
Lack of access to essential services
The rural Ethiopian Somali Regional State lacks functioning infrastructure and health services for the pastoralists and their animals. There are not enough health centres for human and veterinary medicine and no qualified personnel. In addition, medical equipment is outdated, and there is a shortage of medicines. Despite some progress made in recent years, the population of the Somali region faces higher rates of morbidity and mortality than the national average. To improve their living conditions, pastoralists are in urgent need of access to health services that are tailored to their needs and the available resources.
Improved living conditions for pastoralist communities
With its support of the Jigjiga University One Health Initiative, the SDC is helping to improve the living conditions of nomadic pastoralist communities in the Horn of Africa. Following a Swiss analysis of the local health system, the Jigjiga University One Health Initiative was set up as a partnership between the SDC, the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute and Jigjiga University (JJU). JJU is the only educational and research institution in the entire Ethiopian Somali Regional State, which has a population of five million. Around 10,000 students are currently enrolled at the university.
Centre of excellence for health
The interdisciplinary project aims to improve training for students of human and veterinary medicine, and subsequently to establish an interdisciplinary centre of excellence for health at the local university. Jigjiga University aims to become the health centre for pastoralist communities in the Horn of Africa, and eventually an attractive partner for neighbouring universities in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya. Cooperation between the various educational and research institutions will foster long term the activities of the SDC and its partners in addressing health and food security-related issues.
The SDC works with the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute to foster research into improving the health of nomadic pastoralist communities, and also supports the development of health services. Campaigns are conducted in local communities in order to enhance the pastoralists’ awareness of health issues.
The Jigjiga University One Health Initiative was officially launched on 25 October 2015 during a working visit to Ethiopia by the President of the Swiss confederation at the time, Simonetta Sommaruga. The project is due to run for 12 years. Around CHF 3 million has been budgeted for the first half of the project.