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Inter-relationship between human and animal health: a case of Kenya

19 October 2015

Kenya was the choice of study area for a study that is seen as a frontrunner in empirically demystifying the relation between livestock health and that of their keepers. The study that involved 6,400 adults and children, along with more than 8,000 cattle, 2,400 goats, 1,300 sheep and 18,000 chickens in Western Kenya over a period of one year revealed there is indeed a positive co-relation between animals’ and humans’ health on three levels: socio-economic, nutritional and transmission of zoonotic diseases. On the socio-economic front, healthy and productive livestock results in higher household incomes and increased access to education and health care; while on that of nutrition, healthy livestock increases access to animal-based foods, which in turn lowers malnutrition and disease

Further, the study which was conducted by a team of veterinary and economic scientists from Washington State University showed that there is a direct relationship between specific health complications in both livestock and humans such as gastrointestinal and respiratory syndromes. Although the study answers a fundamental question on the relationship of animal and human health, it leaves a glaring gap in information as to how these diseases are transmitted between animals and humans or the underlying causes.



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