Trypanosomosis threatens human, livestock health, agricultural production
• FAO, Nigerian Minister for Science and Technology deliberate on common food security challenges
The United Nations (UN) raised fresh alert to how more than any other disease affecting both livestock and people, Trypanosomosis threatens human and livestock health and agricultural production, and, thereby, rural development and poverty alleviation in sub-Saharan Africa.
The disease, transmitted mainly by tsetse flies, is prevalent in 37 countries among the poorest of the world. This topic centered talks between Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) Sub-regional Coordinator and Representative to the African Union (AU) and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Patrick Kormawa, and the Nigerian Minister for Science and Technology, Ogbonnya Onu.
The two officials discussed the impact of the disease on food security and challenges common to countries of the Eastern Africa Sub-region and Nigeria such as the presence of tsetse fly and the black fly, both trans-boundary pests that have adverse effects on food security in parts of the continent.
According to the Nigerian Minister, the control and eradication of Tsetse fly in Nigeria, with adequate budgetary resources, will have a huge socio-economic impact on the people in affected communities and is a task that the country believes it should embark on.
In proposing actions towards the eradication of the tsetse fly and the disease, Patrick Kormawa called for stronger commitment of governments and development partners to promoting programmes on the control and elimination of the Animal African Trypanosomosis within regions in Africa that are infested by the tsetse fly.
Another key element is that of the promotion of south-south cooperation to eradicate the Animal Trypanosomosis, which should focus on sharing good practices, technology and scientific knowledge-sharing.
“Knowledge and experience sharing are crucial”, added FAO Representative to Ethiopia, Amadou Allahoury. “We are open to support Nigeria in this exchange of experience on pests and food security,” he added.
The meeting recommended that long-term planning and sustained financial commitment are necessary. Key players in the control and eradication of the disease include the FAO-led Programme against African Trypanosomosis (PAAT), African Union-Pan African Tsetse and Trypansomiasis Eradication Campaign (AU-PATTEC), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and World Health Organisation (WHO).