The Climate System Analysis Group (CSAG), based at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, is a multi-disciplinary research group. Blending atmospheric sciences, climate modelling, and applied climate analysis with multidisciplinary elements of vulnerability, impacts and adaptation science, CSAG offers a unique integration of research relevant to developing nation needs. These resources are coupled with proactive capacity building activities across the continent, and with strategic efforts to bridge the challenges of science-society communication. From these foundations CSAG seeks to apply its core research to meet the knowledge needs required to respond to climate variability and change.
CSAG’s role within the project is to spearhead the climatological aspects of the study, investigating historical and projected future climate variability and change in the regions under study, while working with other members of the group to integrate this information into the rest of the project.
The South African Centre for Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis (SACEMA) is a national research centre established under the Centre of Excellence programme of the Department of Science and Technology and the National Research Foundation. The Centre focuses on research in quantitative modelling of the spatial and temporal patterns of disease. The immediate aim of its research is to understand and predict the development of various diseases, and thereby to provide advice on how best to combat them.
SACEMA’s role in the project is to oversee all aspects of the project work, and integrate the output from the three main objectives. Partners in SACEMA are also involved directly in supervising entomological surveys, analysing historic tsetse and trypanosome data and simulation modelling of climatic and disease risk scenarios.
The Tsetse Control Division (TCD) forms part of the Department of Veterinary and Livestock Services in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development. The mandate of the TCD is to implement measures against the tsetse fly and trypanosomiasis, as well as undertake operational research to improve control techniques. In order to achieve this mandate, the division carries out surveys using various techniques in order to establish the distribution and densities of tsetse flies in the western, northern and eastern districts of the country. Control measures are then instituted, with the specific goal of opening up land for crop and livestock production as well as protecting humans from trypanosomiasis. All this is underpinned by tsetse research that seeks to develop new methods and improve existing control techniques. Tsetse research has also been intensified to address challenges that emanate from climate change.
The role of the TCD in this project is to assess the extent of past and future changes in climate, exploring the relationship between tsetse and climate, and investigating means of tackling tsetse in changing situations. The backbone of this work is the development of a theoretical model of the relationship between tsetse and climate. Fieldwork is being performed to provide inputs for the model and to validate its outputs. This work involves monthly sampling of tsetse by various methods in different situations in the Hurungwe District of Zimbabwe, especially at Rekomitjie Research Station in the Zambezi Valley. The samples are examined for catch size, physiological age and infection status. Given that climate change is expected to force tsetse into settled agricultural areas, studies have been made to refine the tsetse control method likely to be the most appropriate in such places, e.g. the use of insecticide-treated cattle.
Bindura University of Science Education (BUSE) recognizes the role played by research in development and participates in multi-disciplinary research programmes.
BUSE is responsible for the disbursement of research project funds for the Zimbabwe component of the project, which also involves the Tsetse Control Division. The university is actively involved in studies to assess how climate change might threaten to increase the level and location of the risk of human trypanosomiasis. Fieldwork is based in the Hurungwe District of Zimbabwe, involving sampling tsetse flies across various habitats and bloodmeal sources, to quantify fly numbers, age, nutritional state and infection rates.
Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), located in Morogoro Municipality about 200km to the west of Dar es Salaam, became a full-fledged university on 1 July 1984 from the then Faculty of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine under the University of Dar es Salaam. SUA’s vision is to become a centre of excellence in agriculture and allied sciences. SUA’s main research objective is to provide leadership in both basic and applied research with greater emphasis placed on research that is linked to development and societal issues. Research, outreach and consultancy services are driven by a trained agricultural and natural resource personnel base that comprises 452 academic staff, of whom 50% have PhD qualifications. Research capacity at SUA is further enhanced through collaborative research projects, which are supported by more than 50 memoranda of understanding.
In this project SUA is responsible for the sociological component of objective one of the project, which aims “to assess knowledge, attitude and practice (KAP) of marginalised rural people towards HAT and its control and possible effects of climate change”.
The Vector & Vector-Borne Diseases Research Institute (VVBDI), formerly known as the Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis Research Institute (TTRI), is an integral unit of the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development. The institute is mandated to conduct research on tsetse and trypanosomiasis leading to the formulation of sustainable control or eradication.
Its activities relevant to this project are as follows. VVBDI advocates the use of environmentally friendly technologies for tsetse control. It also offers advice to stakeholders on sustainable methods of tsetse control. VVBDI conducts training for both local and international fellows on tsetse and trypanosomiasis control methodologies. Finally, VVBDI conducts awareness campaigns on the problems associated with tsetse-infested communities especially in areas where HAT is endemic.
Researchers from LSTM are undertaking fundamental and operational research aimed at improving control of sleeping sickness in sub-Saharan Africa. Work in Central and West Africa centres on the development and field-testing of improved insecticide-treated targets to kill riverine species of tsetse involved in transmission of trypanosomes that cause Gambian sleeping sickness. Fieldwork is currently being carried out in Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo and Guinea. In east and southern Africa, LSTM scientists are members of an international consortium concerned with analysing risk factors for Rhodesian sleeping sickness at the interface of wilderness and farming areas.
LSTM’s particular contribution to the project is concerned with the ecology of tsetse at the interface of farming and wilderness areas. This research utilises a combination of methods including: classical methods of sampling and analysing the distribution and abundance of tsetse populations, molecular methods to analyse the population genetics of tsetse and trypanosomes, development of geographical information systems to quantify spatial determinants of tsetse distribution, and application of analytical and simulation models to predict how natural and anthropogenic factors impact on sleeping sickness. These studies will provide the basis for rational development of novel tools and strategies to control sleeping sickness in eastern and southern Africa.