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Visiting Risper Oyogo: Just One of 1,500 Families Allen School Scientists are Following in Western Kenya to Help Improve Health and Wellbeing

Notes From the Field

risper-and-her-herdsman-watch-as-dr-elkanah-otiang-examines-one-of-her-calves
Risper and her herdsman watch as Dr. Elkanah Otiang examines one of her calves.

by Dr. Thumbi Mwangi, assistant research professor in the Allen School

It’s the last Thursday in August and today I am having the Kisumu County medical epidemiologist, Dr. Dickens Onyango, accompany me for a field visit to the Allen School research projects in the Lwak area, by the shores of Lake Victoria. At about 8 a.m., Dickens and I meet up at the West mall, the newest mall in Kisumu, where we quickly grab coffee and set off in one of the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) field trucks. Our first stop is 14 kilometers north at the KEMRI Kisian Campus, a beautiful campus with neatly-manicured lawns and rows of well-aligned and mature umbrella trees providing a welcoming cool calm of shade.

Here we only get to exchange a few morning greetings with colleagues, before being joined by Dr. Elkanah Otiang, a young energetic field veterinarian who will often be heard belting a hearty often loud, but pleasant laugh. Elkanah doesn’t like to spend time at his desk, and will find every reason to be in the field talking with farmers and treating their animals. He has a team of 15 animal health assistants and community interviewers that work directly under him in the field, and who are involved in the collection of invaluable surveillance data for the Allen School and its partners.

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