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Key Partners

Vetaid Kenya

Vetaid was a UK based charity established in 1986 that offered a way for the UK vet profession to support overseas development work. Vetaid ceased operations in 2010. In its place, it was agreed to allow a local NGO to continue working in East Africa using the same "Vetaid" name.

Vetaid Kenya was then established as a small Kenyan registered charity that has taken over projects originally developed by Vetaid UK. It works with a small and effective team of local vets and community animal health workers. Its size and local roots means that it is extremely flexible and able to respond to emergencies rapidly and effectively. It has acquired a strong reputation in East Africa amongst the government veterinary services, international agencies such as the FAO and donors such as GALVMED.

VetAid Kenya provides animal health training, vaccinations, replacement of livestock animals and programmes to reduce poverty and increase food security.  It trains networks of local community animal health workers, implementing projects to make farming more efficient and profitable.  It helps communities develop small business initiatives and establishes collective marketing associations to increase negotiating power for producers.

Royal Veterinary College (RVC)

The RVC has a long standing association with East Africa. The College has many experts who have worked in the area and continue to conduct research and provide support in country. There are also a number of educational links with students coming to study particularly at postgraduate level in the UK - however there are now just as many UK students who elect to spend some time in Africa as part of their clinicbeval experience.

The link between the RVC and Vetaid Kenya came about partly as a result of funding received from the UK government to promote development awareness. This enabled students and recent graduates from the UK to travel to Kenya and work with Vetaid Kenya colleagues in the field. In return, vets from Kenya have visited the RVC and had the opportunity to work on collabortative teaching projects. As a result of these connections, Vetaid Kenya approached the RVC to help in raising funds in the UK to support the emergency response to the drought.

The Principal of the RVC, Professor Stuart Reid, explained: “Veterinary services are seriously stretched in Kenya and the only organisations with the flexibility, initiative and expertise to respond this to emergency are the veterinary NGOs such as VetAid Kenya and its Vétérinaires Sans Frontières partners. FAO has limited budget to spend on disaster response and RVC has a longstanding relationship with VetAid Kenya and with the region in general. As a College, we strongly feel that we should do all we can to support pastoral farmers in the region, and mounting this appeal is one way in which we can respond to the ongoing disaster and support our veterinary colleagues in East Africa."

 

Imperial College, London

The Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Imperial College have been providing support with disease, vaccine and population surveillance using mobile phones in Kenya. They have developed the EpiCollect generic mobile data gathering tool. Meanwhile EpiCollect.net provides a web application for the generation of forms and freely hosted project websites (using Google's AppEngine) for many kinds of mobile data collection projects.

Data can be collected using multiple mobile phones running either the Android Operating system or the iPhone (using the EpiCollect mobile app) and all data can be synchronised from the phones and viewed centrally (using Google Maps) via the Project website or directly on the phones.  

Impertial

EpiCollect training at Imperial College

The team at Imperial have been working with VetAid Kenya to explore the use of EpiCollect to monitor vaccination and treatment responses in the field. These techniques are now being further applied for use to monitor emergency responses to the drought with a view to developing more effective monitoring and rapid response systems.

Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO)

The FAO has been active in responding to the drought in East Africa and has worked through organisations such as Vetaid Kenya to ensure rapid and efficient delivery of assistance. However, their funds are limited and so they have encouraged the assistance of the RVC to make a direct appeal to UK vets. Whilst the current focus is responding to the impact of the drought on people and their animals, there is a longer term need to be better prepared for the future. Therefore the FAO have expressed a desire to use EpiCollect not only to track vaccinations but also as a way of accounting for the use of the vaccine and drugs to donors.

Google Inc, Kenya

Google have assisted the Vetaid Kenya project and its UK partners in a number of ways. The Google.org non profit organisation has organised the collection of second hand Android phones from Google staff. These have then been upgraded with additional memory and sent out for use by Vetaid Kenya in the field. To date about 30 G1 phones have been donated.

Recently, the Kenyan office of Google has offered to assist Vetaid Kenya in training and supporting vet staff in the field who will be using phones for emergency disease surveillance. Staff have agreed to give up their own time to support this work.

Google
Vetaid Kenya vets and RVC students and staff collecting phones from Google's office in London



For further information please contact Nick Short (nshort@rvc.ac.uk).
Enquiries from the media should be directed to the RVC Press Office.

Global Initiatives

Raising money and awareness for the drought in East Africa is just one of the international projects the RVC has been involved in. For more information see Global Initiatives.

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