Integrated Human and Animal Disease Control for Tanzanian Pastoralists Facing Settlement
In the drylands of East and Southern African, pastoralists are facing degrading environments due to increased population, climate change, and agricultural policies. Excluded from former grazing areas due to urbanization, wildlife conservation, and tourism, these formerly scattered and mobile pastoral communities are increasingly settling down and adopting urban lifestyles. Pastoral societies are livestock specialists and have developed many strategies to manage diseases in animals, but their traditional knowledge and practices may be less effective under non-nomadic living conditions. As a result, epidemic risks arise for human and animal populations alike. This project studies Tanzanian pastoralists facing settlement to better detect and control infectious diseases among animals and humans. Drawing on scientific evidence and the results of pilot activities, the project will strive to influence regional public health and livestock development policy. The research focuses on two agro-ecological zones of the cattle corridor in Tanzania - Ngorongoro and Kibaha/Kilosa districts - and will be led by a regional scientific network, the Southern African Centre for Infectious Disease Surveillance (SACIDS). Researchers from several disciplines will work together with pastoral communities, government services, and scientists to identify causes of disease transmission. They will look at interactions between human and animal health, environmental change, gender, and other socio-economic conditions. The research team will then work with communities to test ways of improving their health, their livelihoods, and their food security, while also preventing disease. Mobile technology and community radio will be used to link community-based disease surveillance with local development activities.