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Four International Organizations Call for United Battle against Tsetse Fly Diseases

Addis Ababa, Geneva, Rome, Vienna, 7 June 2002 - Four international organizations today called for more widespread application of integrated pest management principles to help combat the Tsetse fly and trypanosomiasis, commonly known as sleeping sickness in humans and Nagana in livestock.

The proposed intervention strategy brings together many different technologies and duly protects the environment. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the World Health Organization (WHO) made the appeal in a report released on their web sites today.

Known to entomologists and to veterinary and medical experts as "area-wide integrated pest management," it is essentially a comprehensive approach, linking agricultural practices and tsetse fly intervention, in areas with mixed livestock and crop farming where there is strong potential for sustainable agricultural development. The approach brings together all active tsetse control technologies, including the use of sterile flies to ultimately eliminate the tsetse population and the diseases they carry.

Tsetse-transmitted trypanosomiasis is a disease unique to Africa. The disease is found in 37 sub-Saharan countries and threatens 50 million people and 48 million cattle.

According to the joint report, "An estimated 500,000 people, the majority of whom may die due to lack of treatment, are already infected with sleeping sickness." Nagana, or African Animal Trypanosomiasis, has a severe impact on African agriculture with annual losses in cattle production alone valued at as much as $1.2 billion.

The disease influences where people decide to live, how they manage their livestock and the intensity of agriculture, the report says. "The combined effects result in changes in land use and impact on the environment and they affect human welfare and increase the vulnerability of agricultural activity."

In tsetse-infested areas of sub-Saharan Africa, the report says that half the population suffers from food insecurity. In sub-Saharan Africa, about 85 percent of the poor are located in rural areas and more than 80 percent of the population depends on agricultural production for their livelihood.

The report was produced at a two-day workshop held 2-3 May 2002 at the Rome Headquarters of FAO to harmonize the activities of the four international organizations as they relate to the Programme Against African Trypanosomiasis (PAAT) and the Pan-African Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis Eradication Campaigns (PATTEC). The workshop assessed two specific tsetse and trypanosomiasis intervention projects, one in Ethiopia and the other in a cross-border area of Burkina Faso and Mali. The two projects were reviewed within the framework of the area-wide integrated pest management approach and the workshop participants concluded that both projects deserve full implementation support. The workshop also looked at ways to ensure a sustainable approach towards improved human health and socio-economic development of tsetse-infested areas.

Last update: 27 Jul 2017

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