AGA IN ACTION
Developing capacity in African countries to tackle tsetse-transmitted trypanosomosis
June 9, 2014 Addis Ababa: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), with the financial support of the Government of Italy, is implementing a project to improve food security by supporting the progressive reduction of African trypanosomosis, a disease that affects the health, livelihoods and development prospects of millions of people.
Capacity development is one of the project pillars, with a focus on information technology for risk assessment and for effective decision-making in field interventions. A range of training courses at the national and regional level have been organized, and approximately 100 staff from 13 trypanosomosis-affected countries have been trained on the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Global Position Systems (GPS) and Database Management Systems (DBMS). These tools enable the identification of priority areas for intervention and the optimization of the execution of disease control actions, ultimately resulting in more cost-effective interventions for the benefit of rural poor.
Throughout its capacity development activities, the FAO Project is promoting the use of Freeware Open-Source Software – FOSS (e.g. QuantumGIS), which enables high-performance computer programs to be freely installed on any computer. FOSS eliminates the cost of purchasing and maintaining licences of commercial or proprietary software, thus substantially broadening the range of potential users and contributing to sustainability. Alongside FOSS, the use of public-domain datasets for decision making is being promoted.
In all training activities attention is given to gender by actively promoting a balanced participation in the courses.
FAO, in the framework of the Programme Against African Trypanosomosis (PAAT), delivers its training and assistance to affected countries in close partnership with a number of international organizations (e.g. the Pan-African Tsetse and Trypanosomosis Eradication Campaign (PATTEC) of the African Union (AU), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)). Through this project, FAO empowers African countries and institutions to plan, implement and monitor effective field interventions against tsetse-transmitted trypanosomosis, thus contributing to improved animal health and increased livestock production in the context of Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development.