Pan African Tsetse and Trypanosomosis Eradication Campaign PATTEC Enhancing Africa's Health and Prosperity.
Item Usage Stats
Tsetse fly infestation is one of the most important constraints to rural development in sub-Saharan Africa. By transmitting animal trypanosomosis, tsetse drastically reduces the numbers of livestock available. At the same time, trypanosomosis kills animals used for draught power, thus reducing the capacity of farmers to open up and work the land. Tsetse transmited sleeping sickness, affects a considerable number of people in Africa with the effect of reducing labour availability as well as increasing the cost of health services. A lot of effort has been expended in initiatives aimed at controlling tsetse over the last one hundred years. There has, however, been limited impact in the reduction of the problem. Some of the areas where tsetse had become considerably reduced have become re-infested over time. As a result, gains made are often lost sooner or later. African Heads of State and Government, having been under pressure from their communities to do something about tsetse, and realizing that piecemeal solutions would not work, came to the conclusion that the tsetse problem had to be tackled on a continent-wide basis. The OAU Summit held in Lome, Togo, in July 2000, charged the Secretary General of OAU with the task of initiating a campaign to eradicate this menace from the continent of Africa. The Secretary General, in turn, commissioned a Task Force, comprising experts from 22 African countries to formulate comprehensive strategies and a Plan of Action for the implementation of the Decision by the Heads of State and Government. The Task Force was facilitated through the OAU/IBAR and held its planning workshop in Nairobi, Kenya, from the 11th— 15thDecember 2000. The primary objective of the workshop was to gauge the size of the tsetse and trypanosomosis problem, devise mechanisms for addressing it, and develop plans for the elimination of the problem. The workshop was moderated by an external consultant and was designed and run in a participatory manner. In preparation for the main workshop, a small subgroup of the Task Force met for two days, prior to the meeting of the Task Force, to develop the agenda, outline key issues, develop methods of work and prepare guidelines for the deliberations. During the workshop, the participants sought to answer certain fundamental questions, among which were the following: ➢ Is the eradication of tsetse technically feasible and economically justifiable? ➢ What are the required inputs and expected outcomes or consequences of tsetse eradication? ➢ What strategies and approaches need to be adopted, what methods should be employed and how should the tsetse eradication campaign be organised for effective execution? The workshop concluded that tsetse can and must be eradicated. The members of the Task Force discussed the issues before them extensively and developed a common ground on which their recommendations on the strategies and Plan of Action were based. I am confident that a combination of Africa's political will and the determination and prescriptions of the continent's experts will provide the crucial circumstances under which effective action will be possible. The initiation of the Pan African Tsetse and Trypanosomosis Eradication Campaign, like the Pan African Rinderpest Eradication Campaign before it, demonstrates the viability of translating the spirit of political unity into the reality of collective action to solve a common problem.