The Ohio State University Global One Health initiative (GOHi) has been awarded $5.61 million in funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and bolster Ethiopia’s public health system capacity for small- and large-scale disease outbreaks and emergencies.
Since 2009, GOHi has been on the front lines in Ethiopia working with in-country partners to strengthen capacity using a One Health approach—one that brings together multiple disciplines working globally to address the spread of disease, promote health and emphasize the connection among humans, animals, plants and the environment.
As new diseases emerge, the need for health system preparedness across the globe is vital for nations to prevent spread of pathogens, detect and report epidemics, and respond to and mitigate the spread of those epidemics. The current COVID-19 pandemic urgently underscored these needs. Under-preparedness in one country, is a global risk to all.
With this award, GOHi aims to address three specific focus areas in order to achieve International Health Regulation standards and benchmarks, strengthen surveillance, laboratory and workforce capacity, improve data management and develop a well-linked response network for disease outbreaks and public health emergencies.
“This project is very timely as the world needs to strengthen surveillance, laboratory and workforce capabilities,” said Wondwossen Gebreyes, DVM, PhD, DACVPM, GOHi executive director. “We at GOHi along with campus and global partners are committed to tackling the world’s toughest health challenges at the interface of humans, animals, plants and the environment, including COVID-19. The impact of this work will save lives while we continue to fight this the pandemic. It will also have a lasting impact on prevention and control of future zoonotic viral and drug resistant bacterial infections among others.”
GOHi with participation from Ohio State’s College of Medicine, College of Public Health and College of Veterinary Medicine and additional faculty support from the College of Arts and Sciences and College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, will partner with the Ethiopian Public Health Institute and in-country Regional Health Bureaus to accomplish the project.
Over the next five years, the project will expand the number of laboratories with the ability to test and report Influenza-like illnesses and severe acute respiratory illnesses, like COVID-19, train health professionals and laboratory staff on better specimen collection and transportation techniques, improve data collection and reporting and implementation of appropriate mitigation measures for severe respiratory illnesses based on that data, support equipment procurement and improve quality management throughout the laboratory network to ensure consistent, reliable quality testing.
The ultimate goal will be to enhance and expand the Ethiopian public health system to more comprehensively and efficiently manage the multiple elements that contribute to epidemics of national and international concern.
“This is an incredible opportunity for Ohio State experts and colleagues across the globe to improve the health of the people living in Ethiopia,” said Andrew Bowman, MS, DVM, PhD Diplomate ACVPM, associate professor, College of Veterinary Medicine.
This project serves as an example of institutional teamwork that advances the university’s commitment as a global institution, engaging in meaningful and beneficial partnerships to gain and share knowledge and find sustainable solutions to the world’s most complex issues.