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12th September 2011 @ 12:00 am - 16th September 2011 @ 12:00 am
From 12th to 16th September 2011 the 31st International Scientific Council for Trypanosomiasis Research and Control (ISCTRC) General Conference was held at the Centre International de Conference de Bamako in Bamako, Mali. The ISCTRC is organized on a two-year basis, with this year’s theme being ‘Refocusing Research and Control of Tsetse and Trypanosomiais: A development Agenda’. The ISCTRC General Conferences have been organised since 1949.
The Conference was opened by the Prime Minister, Her Excellency Mme Cisse Mariam Kaidama Sidibe. The ceremony was also attended by the Malian Minister of Livestock and Fisheries, Hon Dr. Bokary Treta, the Minister of Health, Ms Diallo Madeleine Ba, the Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture of the, African Union Commission and the Director of AU-IBAR, Prof. Ahmed El-Sawalhy, among other prominent dignitaries. In her speech, the Prime Minister urged scientists to bring research to the doorstep of the rural poor who bear the scourge of tsetse and trypanosomiasis. The Director of the Inter-African Bureau of Animal Resources, Dr Ahmed El-Sawalhy, complemented the call of the Prime Minister, by reiterating the commitment of AU-IBAR to contribute to removing the tsetse and trypanosomiasis burden from the African Continent.
The AU commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture observed that 60 million rural people and 50 million cattle in 37 sub-Saharan countries Africa live within or at the margins of tsetse infested areas and are at risk of African Trypanosomiasis. About 300,000 to 500,000 new cases of human African trypanosomisis are reported every year with an annual mortality of approximately 50,000 people. The Commissioner moreover observed that the economic loss due to animal African trypanosomiasis is estimated at US$ 5 billion a year. She urged institutions working on tsetse and trypanosomiasis, including the ISCTRC, the Pan African Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis Eradication Campaign (PATTEC), the Programme against African Trypanosomiasis (PAAT), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as well as National Institutions, Universities, International NGOs and research institutions to redouble their effort to contribute to the control, elimination and eventual eradication of tsetse and trypanosomiasis. She further observed that controlling, eliminating and eventually eradicating tsetse and trypanosomiasis calls for regional approaches as it is impossible for any single country to achieve tsetse free status without collaborating with neighbouring countries, given the transboundary nature of the fly and the attendant threat of re-invasion. She further emphasised the important role Public and Private Partnerships can play in the management of tsetse and trypanosomisis.
A total of 314 participants attended the meeting, drawn from 26 African Member States, the African Union Commission, Universities and Research Institutions from all over the world, FAO, WHO, the IAEA, PAAT, the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), the Centre International Pour Recherches et Développement Economique et Sociale (CIRDES), the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND), the Drugs for Neglected Diseases (DNDi) and the Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicine (GALVmed).
The Conference observed that significant progress had been made in the area of Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis field interventions and that there was a general trend and desire by countries to operate within the framework of PATTEC. A major issue of concern was how to use research methods and tools for the collection of good quality baseline data for the planning of control and eradication programmes. The Conference also noted that even though progress has been made in the implementation of the PATTEC Projects there was not sufficient quantification of the benefits derived in transforming livelihoods.
The Conference also observed the growing interest and enhanced collaboration between institutions in all areas of Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis Research and Control as evidenced by the number of networks, consortia and other specialized groups that have evolved over time.
Several papers were presented on the diagnosis and treatment of Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT). Of significance was the growing interest in non-invasive methods for the detection of the second stage of HAT. Research has also advanced in post-treatment follow-up periods and also in the use of appropriate combination of drugs for the treatment of HAT. It was also concluded that communities should be made familiar with the strategic use of trypanocides and that they should also have access to quality animal health products.
The meeting noted with appreciation the contribution of countries towards the elimination of HAT as evidenced by the downward trend in the numbers of reported cases. Countries were however urged not to relent in the surveillance and treatment of HAT.
Challenges faced in tsetse fly mass-rearing were discussed and it was heartening to note that a lot of work is currently undertaken by national and international organizations to address high mortality in tsetse colonies attributable to viral infections.
The Conference acknowledged that a wide variety of tsetse suppression technologies, such as the Sequential Aerosol Technique (SAT) have been developed and tested and that these have proven highly efficient under different ecological conditions. There was consensus that the Sterile Insect Technology (SIT) as a mop-up technology is still very relevant and efforts should be geared towards removing the bottle necks that hinder tsetse mass-rearing.
The SAT was also noted to have succeeded under certain ecological conditions. It was however acknowledged that flexible guidelines were required to enable the adaptation of this technology to varying conditions in different countries.
The Conference was informed of significant progress made in the development of bait technology for tsetse suppression, such as the use of insecticide-impregnated netting, in domestic and peri-domestic livestock production systems. The cost-effectiveness and sustainability of this group of methods needs to be evaluated. The participation of the private sector was identified as crucial in this endeavour. The Conference observed that as a result of current gains made in tsetse suppression/eradication, the issue of non-tsetse transmitted trypanosomiasis should be re-visited.
Presentations made on the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis mapping were enlightening and there was consensus that they should be adopted by countries as a decision-support tool for the planning of Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis Control/eradication Programmes.
Given the low number of interventions under the subtheme Land Use, Environment and Socio-Economics, the Conference encouraged scientists to develop proposals to address socio-economic issues with emphasis on impact assessment. This could be addressed by the integration of socio-economic studies in tsetse and trypanosomiasis control/eradication programmes.
The importance of capacity building in all areas of Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis Research and Control was also emphasized.
In view of the theme of the Conference, it was acknowledged that research should be adaptive and in the short to long-term lead to development. This requires research themes to be formulated to respond to real development needs in the affected countries. [Source: AU-IBAR]