The PS revealed that porous international boundaries was constraining the fight against animal diseases.
Extreme weather patterns also listed as challenges hindering eradication of livestock diseases.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation has launched frontline In-Service Applied Veterinary Epidemiology Training (ISAVET) for the first Kenyan cohort of veterinarians and para-veterinary professionals.
The 25 trainees will be trained for four months, with four weeks of formal training followed by three months of home-based mentored field projects at trainee duty stations.
Speaking during the launch in Nakuru, FAO Country Representative Carla Mucavi said field veterinarians and veterinary paraprofessionals were an indispensable human resource in ensuring animal health and economic growth in the sub-sector.
“They have strong ties to the local communities, contribute to effective surveillance, field investigation and are often first responders of an animal disease outbreak,” she said.
Mucavi said ISAVET programme, which is being done in collaboration with the Director of Veterinary Services (DVS), provided a structured on-the-job training to develop animal health capacity to prevent, detect and respond to potentially zoonotic viral threats at source.
“For early detection and response to potentially zoonotic viral threats at their source, veterinary field officers from the County, Sub County and Regional Veterinary Investigation Laboratories (RVILS) require skills to conduct effective surveillance and outbreak response,” she added.
Mucavi who was accompanied by Livestock Principal Secretary, Harry Kimtai observed that Surveillance Evaluation and Joint External Evaluation (JEE) conducted in Kenya in 2017 identified a key gap in a structured and routine on-job training for animal health workers.
Kimtai said Kenya has been encountering major difficulties in the fight against common and emerging animal diseases due to inadequate human and financial resources poor infrastructure, nomadic nature of livestock keepers and large wildlife-livestock interface.
“The complex epidemiology of the diseases such as rapid spread, multiple hosts, many different strains of same pathogen, insufficient understanding of their epidemiology, unpredictable outbreaks make eradication difficult,” he said.
The PS revealed that porous international boundaries bordering countries with poor or non-existent disease control strategies due to political instability was also constraining the fight against animal diseases.
Extreme weather patterns including droughts and floods due to climate change, large prevalence of vectors such as mosquitoes, tsetse flies and ticks were also listed as challenges hindering eradication of livestock diseases.