Using community based interventions to beat Sleeping Sickness
Animal Trypanosomiasis is a serious parasitic disease which causes severe production losses in cattle : 3 million deaths and US$ 4 billion in lost income annually across Sub Saharan Africa. A single treatment with an injectable drug can clear the animal of all circulating trypanosomes and a simple spray of insecticide on tsetse feeding sites on an animal each month can prevent re-infection.
A new animal health initiative, a collaboration led by the Nigerian Institute for Trypanosomiasis Research (NITR) and the University of Edinburgh, UK, has attracted a US$ 1.5 million grant from the UK's Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. This four year research for development will take place on the Jos Plateau in Nigeria.
Researchers aim to maximise livestock health by developing effective disease control options : restricted application of insecticide, strategic prophylactic treatment and training farmers on rational drug use. This will prevent an estimated 56,000 cattle deaths a year, saving the plateau's Fulani cattle keepers more than US$ 15 million. The project will enable policy makers, public institutions, communities and individual smallholder farmers to identify appropriate and cost-effective methods for sustainable farmer based control.