Online learning enabled Dr Kelvin Momanyi to put One Health concepts into practice in real time while working at the International Livestock Research Institute in Nairobi.
|Name||Momanyi Kelvin Nyariaro|
|Degree||MSc One Health (online learning)|
|Year of Graduation||2017|
Your time at the University
I can trace my interest in One Health to 2013 as a fourth-year undergraduate student at the University of Nairobi in Kenya pursuing a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine where I founded the One Health Club. The aim of the club, which exists to date, is to cultivate a holistic approach towards solving societal challenges among university students from various disciplines.
After graduation my interest was to pursue a career in One Health, and by then the University of Edinburgh was the first, globally, to offer an MSc in One Health through online distance learning (ODL).
The ODL option was quite favourable for me, as it allowed me to continue working as a graduate intern at the International Livestock Research Institute under the Zoonotic and Emerging Diseases (ZED) group, led by Prof Eric Fèvre, as well as pursue my dream course. Moreover, this offered me the opportunity to not only learn the concepts of One Health but also appreciate and put them to use in an almost real time since the ZED Group was a multidisciplinary team of scientists investigating the emergence of pathogens in urban and peri-urban environments of Nairobi, Kenya under the UrbanZoo project.
My most memorable experiences while studying at the University of Edinburgh is the online discussion boards, and the ‘Learn’ environment providing access to the pre-loaded lectures, lecture notes and reading lists which makes learning interactive, engaging, and fun.
An amazing tool I will always remember is the ‘DiscoverEd’, which I can best describe as a “smart library” offering access to a wide array of learning resources from a central search point. I really liked the use of external lecturers who are experts in the specific topical subjects. For instance, we were taught by Jacob Zinsstag and Paul Gibbs, who are renowned One Health scientists.
Your experiences since leaving the University
While studying for the MSc One Health, I got to gain skills on how to critique and write scientific articles, this culminated in my first peer reviewed publication, “One Health and Cancer: a comparative human and animal cancers in Nairobi.” This would not have been possible without the guidance and encouragement of Dr Neil Anderson, who was then my course coordinator.
Through the presentation skills gained through my coursework, supervised by Prof Thrusfield, I presented the work in the 2nd International One Health conference organised by One Health Central and Eastern Africa and was awarded the best oral presentation.
Through the MSc One Health I got to collaborate with scientists from different geographical areas in my dissertation titled, “Evaluation of the Implementation of OH in Kenya: a Case Study of the Zoonotic Disease Unit.” I also got my first full-time job as a Research Assistant under the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). A key requirement in the job advert was education and experience in One Health, which I acquired both through the MSc in One Health, in-job training and my dissertation.
My current role, as a Research Assistant under ILRI (ZooLinK project), involves surveillance of 15 zoonotic diseases in both animals and humans in western Kenya with a strong focus of disseminating findings to the public, policy and scientific community. Elective courses such as One Health policy and practice and socio economics of One Health have made me contextualize the burden of zoonotic diseases in the communities we work in, identify smart approaches towards their control such as incorporating digital media to catalyse safer practises.
Ultimately, my active involvement and contribution to veterinary matters in Kenya culminated in me receiving the Young Veterinarian of the Year Award by the Kenya Veterinary Association in 2016.
My current role, as a Research Assistant under ILRI (ZooLinK project), involves surveillance of 15 zoonotic diseases in both animals and humans in western Kenya with a strong focus of disseminating findings to the public, policy and scientific community.
The University of Edinburgh is the place to be, it is the ‘promised land’! It will unleash your potential to unimaginable scales. Your part is to believe in yourself and never be afraid of trying. Try the online free courses, volunteer to mentor other students, involve yourself in campus activities, check in at the career services and interact with Edinburgh University Students' Association! You will never know where the magic is happening and get to embrace your inner uniqueness and potential if you cannot get involved and believe in yourself. And when you do, there shall be no stopping you.
International Livestock Research Institute (external link)