Ecohealth Approach to Assessing Infectious Disease Burden and Vulnerability in Southern and Eastern Africa

Project Summary:
Funder: IDRC – International Development Research Centre
Principle Investigator: Prof Mark M. Rweyemamu
Period: Feb 2013 – Jan 2017
Funder:  IDRC – International Development Research Centre
Principle Investigator: Prof Mark M. Rweyemamu
Period: Feb 2013 – Jan 2017
The overall goal of the project is to develop and test integrated, community-based approaches to controlling significant human and animal infectious disease complexes in Tanzania that have high impact on food security in pastoral communities undergoing transformations.
To provide scientific evidence for disease burden and drivers that can be attributed to environmental, economic and socio-ecological factors (Fig 2), enabling an innovative One Health based strategy and tools for intervention and capacities, including a cross- sectoral community of practice.
Specific Objectives:
The project targets a traditional livestock owning community under different social and environmental conditions (rural and peri-urban). This fills an important gap in the current SACIDs strategies by bringing the social, economic, political and ecological aspects to the fore.
It is also important research given the current economic circumstances and government policies in the region, which are driving urbanisation and shifting populations, mostly into suboptimal housing and settlement conditions.
There is a considerable risk of exchanging one set of circumstances and disease burdens associated with remote rural living and traditional lifestyles with more intensive peri-urban environments, poor housing and hygiene and a different suite of infections and health concerns. The research will highlight the trade-offs of these policies and identification critical points of intervention.
Accordingly the study will have the following four specific objectives:
  1. Transformation processes, which drive the risks and vulnerabilities for at least three persistent and/or emerging, interrelated infectious disease-complexes that impact on local and regional food security in Tanzania, are identified
  2. Innovative, integrated community-based interventions are developed and tested that effectively reduce the burden of complex disease syndromes and improve local food insecurity in 2 different test-regions in Tanzania (drylands in Ngorongoro; humid coastal hills in Kibaha);
  3. A regional community of practice promotes collaborative approaches for integrated disease control that include practical tools for strategic planning, communication and decision making
  4. Institutionalized leadership capacities are strengthened in Tanzania and embedded in a regional network for systemic research into human and animal infectious disease control;
  5. New Information & Communication Technology are tested as part of the intervention packages for integrated disease control among  communities and their transformative public health and local development impacts are assessed

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