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Opening address

A.R. Gray

Director General, ILRAD, Nairobi, Kenya

On behalf of ILRAD, I wish to welcome you to Nairobi and to this workshop on the modelling of vector-borne and other parasitic diseases convened by ILRAD in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. We are delighted to see so many of the people involved in modelling activities and their applications gathered in one room to help us and FAO better apply quantitative methods to achieving our respective goals.

We particularly welcome this opportunity to work together with FAO, the largest coordinator of global animal disease control, and laud the initiatives taken to combine our resources in the development of this workshop.

Why are we interested in modelling? The strategic nature of research carried out at ILRAD has required an understanding of immune mechanisms in cattle and of parasite antigens, and ILRAD has become a recognized centre of excellence in these areas. Our interest in modelling was fostered particularly by the need to similarly understand the complex dynamics of the diseases we work with in the field, and to develop methods to see the control measures that we and others are working on, successfully applied under the multitude of different conditions prevailing in Africa and elsewhere.

Our first exposure to modelling techniques was thus in the area of epidemiology and we developed valuable collaborations with the University of Strathclyde, the Imperial College in London and the Australian National University. We then went on to apply modelling to help us predict the economic impact of diseases and their control, and again we have developed a productive collaboration with Texas A & M University to help achieve this. These experiences have led us to understand that modelling may help us understand other processes on which we are working, such as immune response, parasite polymorphisms and resistance to chemotherapeutics and anthelmintics, for example. They also led us to believe that the fast rate of development of modelling techniques and their better application to research problems warranted a review of the state of the art as applied to vector-borne diseases, to allow us to critically evaluate where, when and how they could best be used by ILRAD in a strategic research mode.

The workshop program covers a wide field, but you will notice that there is ample time for discussion, during which I hope you will roll up your sleeves and consider critically both the problems being presented by ILRAD staff, and the philosophy and examples presented by the modellers themselves. This is a unique opportunity, for ILRAD, for FAO, and for the modellers, to present and exchange ideas that will lead, we hope, to the production of recommendations relevant to us all as to how to proceed.

I wish you all a very successful, enjoyable and productive workshop.

Workshop Organizing Committee

Dolan, T.T.
International Laboratory for Research on Animal Diseases
P.O. Box 30709
Nairobi, Kenya

Eley, R.M.
International Laboratory for Research on Animal Diseases
P.O. Box 30709
Nairobi, Kenya

Hansen, J.W.
Animal Production and Health Division
Food and Agriculture Organization
Via delle Terme di Caracalla
00100 Rome, Italy

Morzaria, S.P.
International Laboratory for Research on Animal Diseases
P.O. Box 30709
Nairobi, Kenya

Perry, B.D. (Chairman)
International Laboratory for Research on Animal Diseases
P.O. Box 30709
Nairobi, Kenya

Teale, A.J.
International Laboratory for Research on Animal Diseases
P.O. Box 30709
Nairobi, Kenya

Young, A.S.
International Laboratory for Research on Animal Diseases
P.O. Box 30709
Nairobi, Kenya


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