Photo: The Woreda Livestock Officer explaining the effects of plants on the camel health during the OHU activities in Ahmed Amin | Credit: Andrea Rossetti

My name is Micol and I’m the One Health Advisor of Amref Health Africa. I’m a member of the HEAL Partnership Board and I provide my technical support to the program locations in southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya. In November 2022, I visited Filtu woreda where I enjoyed the field activities in Osobey and Ahmed Amin kebeles. I had the opportunity to meet, discuss and work with the Multi-Stakeholder Innovation Platform (MSIPs), Filtu Woreda OH Taskforce and the HEAL multidisciplinary team.

I was truly amazed by the results we have achieved so far, in terms of community awareness, institutional commitment and integrated service delivery. I had the fortune to observe the OHU in action. I appreciated the value and benefits of the cross-sectoral integration of services. Women and children receive their routine vaccination, while their sheep and goats are dewormed, and their partners and fathers are educated on the effects of certain plants on camel health.

Micol interviewing the CAHW in Ahmed Amin kebele | Credit: Andrea Rossetti

However, what really impressed me is the community participation and commitment in taking responsibility and making a change. As an old woman told me during one of my interviews with stakeholders, ‘the organisation can be there, but it is the MSIP that does the underground building’. The MSIP meets on regular basis, identifies and prioritises problems in the community, and discusses ways to address them collectively.

Vaccination provided by the OHU in Ahmed Amin kebele.

During my visit, the common practice of cutting trees for firewood was identified as a key environmental issue in Ahmed Amin kebele. The MSIP decided to split in groups to reach the community and discuss the impact of this unsustainable practice on environment and human health and guide the identification of possible alternatives. Agreement on the action plan was reached and signed by raising hands.

The MSIP signing the agreement for next action plan in Ahmed Amin kebele.

The MSIP is a team for development’ tells me a young boy, member of the MSIP. ‘The program is like a camel, where the MSIP is the backbone that allows the different program components [legs] move forward’.