In 2021, the International Development Research Centre of Canada (IDRC) launched the Collaborative One Health Research Initiative on Epidemics (COHRIE) in an effort to understand and show how One Health research on emerging epidemic threats can help protect human health and livelihoods, strengthen local food systems, and promote environmental sustainability.
An award of $5 million was granted to Professor Sanni Yaya and his research team, who work in collaboration with researchers in Guinea and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to decentralize and implement One Health platforms in these two countries heavily burdened with diseases of epidemic potential and other endemic diseases.
DOPERAUS project launches
On June 10, 2022, Stéphanie Maltais, postdoctoral fellow at the University of Ottawa and member of Professor Yaya’s team was in Conakry for the official launch of the DOPERAUS (Decentralize and Operationalize the “ONE HEALTH” Platforms) project, under the auspices of the Ministry of Health and Public Hygiene and in collaboration with principal researchers Professor Alpha Kabinet Keita and Dr. Abdoulaye Touré.
The launch was an opportunity to discuss the problem of zoonoses in Guinea, especially the recent emergence of the avian flu in the country. In her opening speech, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock welcomed the implementation of this integrative and innovative project that will allow both Canada and Guinea to join and create collaborative relationships to fight zoonotic diseases.
Also, on July 7, Rodrigue Innocent Deuboue Tchialeu, a researcher from the University of Ottawa and member of Professor Yaya’s team, attended the launch of the project in Kinshasa, alongside the country’s principal researchers, Drs. Justin Masumu and Sheila Makiala. The Minister of Public Health, Hygiene and Prevention, Dr. Jean-Jacques Mbungani Mbanda, took the opportunity to underline the importance of comprehensive management of epidemic-prone diseases—such as Ebola—and encouraged all partners to support the project, thus empowering all actors in the fight against epidemics and emerging diseases.
An additional $1 million for continuous learning
The University of Ottawa team, led by Professor Sanni Yaya, received an additional $1 million grant from IDRC to coordinate all knowledge mobilization, capacity building, and the networking of research teams in four COHRIE projects: the DOPERAUS project as well as three other projects in Colombia, Ecuador, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Uganda, Peru, and Sierra Leone.
In order to ensure continuous learning, the use of the project results, as well as regional and global outreach, the team aims to organize communication and knowledge transfer activities for the entire COHRIE cohort, as well as local actor engagement activities to help policy-makers improve national and regional policies, as well as provide training and capacity-building activities in sex and gender analysis, sex-transformative research, scientific knowledge transfer and popularization, and policy-maker engagement.
The University of Ottawa will coordinate the project while working with local organizations, which in turn will be contracted to conduct engagement activities with participating parties in each country. The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the importance and relevance of the “One Health” concept in understanding and addressing global health risks. Through the expertise of its researchers, the University of Ottawa actively contributes to multi-sectoral partnerships at the international level to develop strategies to combat serious disease and large-scale health threats