One Health in Action: the HEAL project

Project Overview

Project name

One Health Units for Humans, Environment, Animals and Livelihoods (OH4HEAL)

Duration of the project






CHF 8’000’000

Co-funded by










Project area



What is HEAL?

One Health is an intersectoral approach recognizing the close connection of the health of people to the health of animals and our shared environment. VSF-Suisse’s One Health Units for Humans, Environment, Animals and Livelihoods (HEAL) project uses this approach to enhance the well-being and resilience of vulnerable communities in pastoralist and agro-pastoralist areas of Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya. The project aims to reshape veterinary and medical service delivery by creating One Health Units (OHUs). These units will facilitate interactions and coordination between governmental departments, private service providers, and communities. They should strengthen human, livestock, and environmental health services and help to develop sustainable strategies for coping with changing environments and climate change, all while being financially efficient. 12 OHUs will be piloted in HEAL project sites according to the most prominent needs of our stakeholders. As the mobility of pastoralist communities requires solutions that are not limited to a defined geographical area, the units can be either mobile or static, depending on the different target areas. HEAL’s regional approach covers border areas of Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya, offering the advantage of reaching communities who move across regional and national borders, regardless of their current location.

Strong partnerships for a strong impact

The HEAL project brings together 3 consortium partners that are experts in their respective fields: VSF-Suisse in animal health, the Comitato Collaborazione Medica CCM in human health, and the International Livestock Research Institute ILRI in animal health, natural resource management, gender, and impact assessment and research. Each of the partners has a well-recognized track-record on practical implementation of One Health, well-established networks in the target areas of HEAL, and an extensive experience in capacity development.

Following a participatory approach to provide more evidence on One Health efficiency

HEAL follows a participatory approach in applying One Health by ensuring that vulnerable communities, service providers, and governmental institutions participate in every stage of the project: from problem identification to implementing solutions and managing the end-of-project handover of responsibilities and processes. The project furthermore engages with the communities via the Multi-Stakeholder Innovation Platforms (MSIPs) which provide a platform for understanding the needs of women and men in the communities and ensuring these are reflected in the services provided by OHUs. MSIPs will also promote the capacity building process of the communities as well as local authorities and facilitate timely response to natural disasters and health emergencies. Through the MSIPs and based on the increased recognition of women in livestock management, the project will develop a stream of work to enhance women’s decision-making power and access to resources.

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The programme is supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA.

Which of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals does this project work towards?


Other projects in the Horn of Africa

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