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Interview with vHive Veterinary Epidemiologist Abel B. Ekiri

Who are you?

I’m Abel Ekiri. I recently joined vHive’s ALPHA project as a Research Fellow in Epidemiology. ALPHA project is a collaborative initiative between the University of Surrey and Zoetis working to advance livestock health and productivity in local communities in Sub-Saharan Africa.

What’s your personal philosophy?

Treat others the way you would like to be treated!

Can you tell us the story of your employment journey?

Well, been out and about, but will pick and choose here…. As a fresh veterinary graduate, I started out working to improve animal husbandry practices and livelihoods of dairy cattle farmers in rural areas of Uganda. Shortly thereafter, I continued with dairy cattle health management work in South Florida before heading over to the University of Florida where I completed my graduate studies in epidemiology. While pursuing graduate studies, I coordinated the veterinary teaching hospital’s infection control and biosecurity program activities. Following the studies, I ventured up north to North Dakota State University where I managed a multi-institutional collaborative project that conducted research and developed a master’s degree program geared to building capacity in management of transboundary animal infectious diseases in East Africa. My passion for One Health capacity building activities in developing settings grew immensely during this stint so later when I got an opportunity to work in a similar area with another multi-institutional collaborative team led by the University of California Davis and Sokoine University of Agriculture, I swiftly hopped on board. Working as a research scientist, I was fortunate to contribute to a variety of exciting research and capacity building projects that utilized a One Health approach to conduct surveillance for novel and re-emerging zoonotic viruses, Rift Valley fever, and Brucellosis at wildlife-livestock-human interfaces in Tanzania.

What was your first impression of vHive?

VHive looks and works like a well-oiled technological hub. Right off I was impressed by the team skills diversity, technological savviness, and the eagerness to collaborate with colleagues in other disciplines to achieve a better product.

If you weren’t doing this job, what would you be doing instead, or what would your life be like?

Would be home babysitting or walking my boy, nothing beats that, at least for now.

Tell me about some of the people you’ve met while working on A.L.P.H.A.

Have a met a number of nice and friendly people already – the vHive and Zoetis teams, who have helped me settle in smoothly with ALPHA.

And what has been your biggest achievement or success?

Have a few, latest addition of my son takes top spot.  

What’s your must read book?

Several, but lately “Mr Nonsense” by Roger Hargreaves.

Who’s your most inspirational person?

Have several, but my father stands out because thoughts of how he always laboured to support others fulfil their dreams remind me not to lose focus of the more important things in life.

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