Rift Valley fever in Kenya: Policies to prepare and respond

Working Paper

STEPS Working Paper 82

Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a zoonotic infection incompletely understood by scientists, pastoralists and policy makers. 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 policy-making 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 rural pastoralists, sedentary agro-pastoralists, government policy makers, expert advisors and local public officials.  The paper aims to understand RVF policy-making 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 re-enforcing, and to appraise the upsides and downsides of alternative responses to the challenges of RVF.

For more publications and a video, see the Rift Valley Fever project page.