Mombasa, Kenya, September 20 – Leading African scientists are being challenged to develop solutions to “Africa’s problems” at an ongoing global conference to tackle tsetse flies and trypanosomiasis, commonly known as sleeping sickness challenges.
Kenyan Vice President Rigathi Gachagua made the call at the opening of a five-day conference in Mombasa.
In Kenya, farmers would save more than Sh21 billion annually if the disease were completely eradicated from animals, he said.
The vice president urged scientists to "develop a strategy to completely rid the continent of this disease."
“While I note that Kenya has successfully controlled transmission in humans, replicating it in animals would not only save our farmers over $143 million (Sh21 billion) annually, but also put the industry on track to build Our economy is on the right track.”
The 36th Congress of the International Scientific Council for Research and Control of Trypanosomiasis was organized in partnership with the African Union African Animal Resources Agency and the Government of Kenya.
DP Gachagua pointed out that the livestock industry contributes 30% to 80% to sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP.
Despite the impressive contribution, he said it is threatened by African animal trypanosomiasis, "which causes economic losses of up to $4.5 billion annually."
He warned that resistance to multiple drugs has emerged in 21 countries, including Kenya, posing a major threat to controlling the disease.
"It is also a major threat to the continent's economy," he said on Tuesday.
The conference, with more than 300 participants from across Africa and beyond, was a unique opportunity for the continent to “evaluate in detail the strategies we have employed for decades,” the Vice President said.
"As technology advances, this meeting brings together different experts. By mixing ideas, we can innovate to eliminate this disease."
He pledged the country's commitment to eradicating the tsetse fly.
Principal Secretary Livestock Development Jonathan Mueke introduced Mithika Linturi, Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture and Livestock Development during the meeting.
In a speech hosted by PS, CS Linturi said controlling tsetse and trypanosomiasis would help Kenya achieve key economic drivers such as food security, manufacturing and agro-processing.
"It is well known that tsetse flies are a trans-border problem; affecting the agriculture, tourism and public health sectors," said CS Linturi.
“Given the scale of the tsetse fly problem in Africa, and taking into account its transboundary nature, complex and dynamic medical, veterinary, agricultural and rural development dimensions, there is a need to develop priorities and strategies for the control of tsetse flies and trypanosomiasis at the regional and continental levels. Direction. Level."
AU-IBAR Director Dr. Huyam Salih also addressed the event.
The director of the bureau said that by working together, there is a chance to eliminate tsetse flies and the disease from the African continent.
About 50 million cattle in Africa are at risk of contracting the disease, she said. The disease kills 3 million cattle on the continent every year.
"Trypanosomiasis remains a huge obstacle to sustainable agriculture, rural development and public health in many countries in Africa," she said.
The Director of the Bureau reiterated that 38 out of 55 countries were affected by tsetse and trypanosomiasis.
"Between 2016 and 2020, the estimated population at risk was 55 million people. By 2022, fewer than 1,000 cases of human trypanosomiasis will be reported annually in Africa," she said.
The fight against trypanosomiasis has been going on for 72 years.
"Now is the time to reaffirm our commitment and accelerate progress. The Abuja Declaration paves the way for the eradication of tsetse fly and trypanosomiasis," Dr Saleh said.
“We have witnessed remarkable progress in reducing human trypanosomiasis cases in Africa. From 9875 cases in 2009 to less than 1000 cases in 2022. Let us make similar efforts for animal trypanosomiasis in Africa, release The potential of rural Africa.”
The ISCTRC was established in 1949 to promote coordination and coordination of work related to tsetse and trypanosomiasis in Africa.
"This initiative was driven by recognition of the cross-border impact of tsetse flies and trypanosomiasis," she said.