Kenyan pastoralists’ views on Rift Valley Fever
As part of the research programme on Dynamic Drivers of Disease in Africa, the STEPS (Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability) Centre has brought out a report on “Rift Valley fever in Kenya: policies to prepare and respond” as Political Economy of Knowledge and Policy Working Paper 82 (March 2015, 39pp).
Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a zoonotic infection incompletely understood by scientists, pastoralists and policymakers. The irregular intervals at which outbreaks occur make it difficult for governments to develop and implement clear intervention strategies. This paper provides an evidence-based analysis of some of the conditions under which the risks posed to Kenya by RVF might be diminished. It is premised on the assumption that public policymaking on an issue such as RVF cannot be decided solely by reference to scientific considerations.
The analysis was developed by studying the knowledge, beliefs and uncertainties about RVF, and the policies and preparations to respond to it, taking into account not only the extent and limits of scientific knowledge, but also the perspectives, knowledge and beliefs about RVF among a diverse range of stakeholder groups. These include nomadic pastoralists, sedentary agropastoralists, government policymakers, expert advisors and local public officials.
The paper aims to understand RVF policymaking and implementation by identifying these diverse perspectives, by assessing their congruencies and/or incompatibilities, and estimating the extent of their influence upon policies and practices. It seeks to explore the conditions under which the diverse understandings are most likely to be mutually reinforcing, and to appraise the upsides and downsides of alternative responses to the challenges of RVF.