Health Security Partners is excited to have received an award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) under the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA). The projects, funded for the 2016 fiscal year, will help prevent zoonotic diseases, specifically rabies and brucellosis, through strengthening diagnostic and surveillance capacity at the regional and national levels in Ethiopia.
Rabies, a disease that causes over 59,000 deaths worldwide each year, disproportionately affects populations in Africa and Asia. Ethiopia has reported some of the highest rates of rabies deaths in the world among both human and animal populations. Due to the lack of accurate reporting and surveillance measures, however, it has been impossible to fully assess the burden of rabies infections and rabies-related deaths in Ethiopia. The burden of brucellosis, another zoonotic disease of importance in Ethiopia, has also been difficult to evaluate due to inadequate disease surveillance practices. Globally, over 500,000 human cases of brucellosis are reported each year, mainly from developing countries, causing serious health problems in infected humans. In livestock, such as cattle, sheep, and goats, brucellosis often leads to reproductive failure, which can have a devastating impact on the livelihoods of livestock farmers as well as on local and national economies. Because of its characteristically ambiguous clinical nature, brucellosis presents a unique challenge that requires strong human and animal laboratory diagnostic capacity for detection.
To prevent, detect, and respond to both rabies and brucellosis, it is necessary that diagnostic laboratories are properly equipped and have trained personnel. HSP’s efforts under the GHSA will help strengthen Ethiopia’s existing diagnostic capacities for rabies and brucellosis surveillance at both the regional and national levels. Through providing in-country laboratories with technical guidance and equipment for disease-specific trainings, HSP will encourage a One Health approach to tackling the high burden of rabies and brucellosis in Ethiopia’s human and animal populations.