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Abakar, M. F.; Schelling, E.; Béchir, M.; Ngandolo, B. N.; Pfister, K.; Alfaroukh, I. O.; Hassane, H. M. and Zinsstag, J. (2016): Trends in health surveillance and joint service delivery for pastoralists in West and Central Africa. In: Revue Scientifique et Technique-office international Des Epizooties, Vol. 35, No. 2: pp. 683-691

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In most sub-Saharan African countries, pastoralism represents an important economic resource and contributes significantly to national growth;however, challenges remain, particularly in providing social services to pastoralists (especially health and education) and in avoiding conflict with local sedentary communities and local authorities. All of this takes place while pastoralists try to maintain their mobile lifestyle within a rapidly changing ecosystem. Transdisciplinary approaches, such as 'One Health', which covers both human and animal health, have proven effective in delivering services and reaching mobile pastoralists in remote areas. The pastoralist way of life could be described as being linked to both their livestock and their environment, which makes social science an important element when researching the delivery and adaptation of social services to pastoralists. Early or pre-diagnostic detection of emerging and endemic infectious disease remains a vital aspect of health surveillance targeted at preventing further transmission and spread. Community-based syndromic surveillance, coupled with visual mobile phone technology, adapted to the high levels of illiteracy among nomads, could offer an alternative to existing health surveillance systems. Such an approach could contribute to accelerated reporting, which could in turn lead to targeted intervention among mobile pastoralists in sub-Saharan Africa. Although considerable efforts have been made towards integrating mobile pastoralists into social services, obstacles remain to the adoption of a clear, specific and sustainable policy on pastoralism in sub-Saharan Africa.

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