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R.J. Connor1


Sub-Saharan Africa is poor and is becoming poorer. Between 1980 and 1987 the human population grew at an average annual rate of 3,1 per cent; during the same period the average annual per capita gross domestic product (GDP) declined by 2,6 per cent (World Bank, 1989). An estimated 100 million people in the region are hungry and to improve regional food security there must be a 4,0 per cent annual increase in food production, coupled with a reduction in population growth (World Bank, 1989).

Tsetse-transmitted animal trypanosomiasis is one of the major factors retarding rural development. The disease depresses every aspect of livestock production and it is not practical to keep domestic animals in heavily tsetse-infested areas. Where they are kept under lower challenge, productivity is poor. A significant effect of the disease is that it prevents the use of animal traction over wide areas. Consequently people have to rely on manual tillage of the land which is associated with much lower crop yields and poorer food production. Control of African animal trypanosomiasis, therefore, has a high priority in rural development programmes.

There are three main control strategies: removal of the tsetse fly - the vector of the disease; removal of the trypanosome - the causative agent of trypanosomiasis; and, rearing trypanotolerant animals. Within the first two strategies several methods can be used, the choice of which depends upon local conditions, objectives and resources. The application of any control method requires suitably trained and experienced people, of which there is a serious shortage.

1 Trypanosomiasis and Training Expert
Regional Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis
Control Programme (RTTCP)
P.O. Box A 560

2. The Need For Training

Severe budgetary constraints over the last decade, and possibly longer, attributable to ailing economies of many sub-Saharan countries, have prevented control programmes from being implemented. As a direct result of this there are very few people with practical experience of tsetse and trypanosomiasis control. The general lack of incentives to retain skilled and experienced personnel in underfunded control organizations, has resulted in them seeking employment elsewhere. The retirement of senior, experienced control personnel further exacerbates the shortage.

Attempts to correct this manpower deficit have been made through staff training programmes. Technical, or middle level, personnel have been trained in specialist courses on tsetse and trypanosomiasis control at national or regional levels. Graduate, or professional, personnel have usually attended postgraduate courses in parasitology, entomology or tropical veterinary medicine, generally outside Africa. There are several major shortcomings of this approach to redressing the manpower crisis.

At the middle level, not all trained staff return to posts connected with tsetse and trypanosomiasis control, and even when they do, they usually lack the resources to enable them to apply their newly acquired knowledge in order to develop skills and proficiency. Some postgraduate personnel return to their posts, others are promoted or transferred to other posts, having achieved academic advancement. Their newly acquired knowledge is often research-oriented and is usually related to a scientific discipline rather than specifically to tsetse and trypanosomiasis control. Again, as in the case of middle level personnel, professional staff rarely have access to sufficient resources to enable them to put into practice the methods to which they have been introduced.

As well as there being too few trained people, there are few opportunities for them to gain practical experience, and on-the-job training is often not possible. The expansion of training programmes is hard to justify against the background of declining expenditure both on education and on control programmes. An approach is needed which overcomes these common shortcomings, which provides work experience and on-the-job training, and which encourages the development and retention of skilled manpower.

The need to train staff for the implementation of tsetse and trypanosomiasis control operations has been recognized within the Regional Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis Control Programme (Anon, 1990). Although training is needed at all levels, a decision has been made to focus attention at the postgraduate level in the expectation that suitably qualified and experienced senior staff will contribute to training their support staff. The scope of the training needed is broad and encompasses aspects of administration, planning, management, monitoring and reporting. The development of these skills as well as technical skills is essential for the smooth implementation of control measures, if the threat of tsetse-transmitted animal trypanosomiasis is to be reduced and rural development promoted.

3. Objective of Postgraduate Training

The overall objective, or goal, of training is to improve the control of tsetsetransmitted animal trypanosomiasis. The specific objective of the scheme proposed for the RTTCP is:

to strengthen the regional capability to manage in the field the detailed practical aspects of planning, implementation and evaluation of tsetse and trypanosomiasis control programmes in the common fly belt of Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and where appropriate in other countries of the Southern Africa Development Coordination Conference (SADCC).

4. Anticipated Benefits of the Proposed Postgraduate Training Scheme

Implementation of the proposed postgraduate training scheme will provide suitably trained staff for tsetse and trypanosomiasis control programmes. Improved implementation of control measures will reduce the constraint of tsetse-transmitted animal trypanosomiasis on agricultural production, with consequent benefits for local communities and economies. Improved local, on-the-job training for middle level and junior staff will help to consolidate manpower development, with further benefits to control programmes. Successful implementation of the proposed training scheme should be followed by its replication in other parts of Africa.

5. Proposal for Postgraduate Training within the RTTCP

5.1 General: To minimize disruption of field activities, training will be part-time and will be largely on-the-job. This approach will ensure that the training is directly applicable to prevailing field conditions. Local institutions, particularly universities and government departments, will be closely involved in the scheme.

5.2 Structure of the scheme: The scheme comprises a series of modules (Fig 1) between which on-the-job training will be provided. The taught course will comprise three core, or compulsory modules dealing with general tsetse and trypanosome biology, planning and data analysis, and reporting. Candidates will then elect to take three more modules either in tsetse biology, surveys and control, or trypanosomiasis biology, surveys and control. Twelve candidates will enrol for the course and will occupy all twelve places on core modules. However, there will also be twelve places in each specialized, elective module, thus providing an opportunity for the enrolment of up to 36 more trainees on these modules each year. Candidates who satisfactorily complete six modules (three core and three elective) will receive a diploma. Those who satisfactorily complete a single module will be awarded a certificate. Performance will be independently assessed by external examiners from universities in the region and by course tutors.

Candidates who demonstrate their ability in taught courses up to diploma level will be supported to study for a Master's degree whilst continuing to work in the field.

5.3 Organization of the scheme: A Course Director with honorary academic status in at least one of the universities in the region will organize training. He will be a member of the Regional Board of Studies which will supervise module syllabuses and examinations, and which will liaise with university authorities (Fig 2).

A tutor will run each module on a contract basis and will engage other tutors from within the region, and elsewhere as necessary.

The Course Director will have administrative support and will report to the Regional Standing Committee of the RTTCP through the Regional Coordinator. It is intended to establish the scheme in the first year of the proposed three year extension of the RTTCP. Training will take place in the second and third years which will enable up to 24 diplomas and 72 certificates to be awarded. Thereafter, it is intended that the Regional Board of Studies should take over the training scheme, which, after necessary modification in the light of experience gained, will be acceptable to universities in the region.

Figure 1. Proposed structure of the taught course

Figure 1

Figure 2. Proposed organization of RTTCP Postgraduate training

Figure 2

6. Anticipated Risks

The main risks to the scheme are:

7. Cost of The Scheme

The first three years of the scheme, comprising establishment in the first year followed by two years of training, have an estimated cost of almost ECU 2,0 million. This figure may appear to be high but expenditure will be largely in the region and not outside Africa. The estimated cost of the scheme includes the establishment of infrastructure and strengthening regional capability to conduct training as well as to control tsetse-transmitted trypanosomiasis. Up to 24 candidates may reach diploma level.

The cost of providing training in Europe for the same number of students over the same period would be approximately ECU 500 000. However, if such students were to return to the field they would still require extensive orientation and specialist training in management, planning and field techniques.

8. Conclusion

Control of animal trypanosomiasis is essential if food production in sub-Saharan Africa is to be increased to the required level. Suitably trained staff are needed to implement programmes and can only be properly trained in the field, and not abroad. The scheme currently being proposed to meet the needs identified in the RTTCP will take place in Africa and will involve institutions in the region. Training will be entirely appropriate to field conditions and can be modified in the light of local experience.

The scheme will provide the opportunity for universities in the region to participate in training programmes which are directly linked to development requirements. The questions still to be addressed are:

Similar questions relate to almost all development activities and are encapsulated in the single word “sustainability”. Rephrased, these two questions become “How sustainable is postgraduate training in the context of tsetse and trypanosomiasis control?” Firm and substantive commitments by govenments and funding agencies are obviously required.


Anon, (1990) Draft Proposal for a three-year extension of the Preparatory Phase of the EEC-funded Regional Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis Control Programme (RTTCP) of Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Prepared by the office of the Regional Coordinator, RTTCP, Harare, Zimbabwe on behalf of the Regional Standing Committee for the RTTCP. December 1990.

World Bank (1989) Sub-Saharan Africa. From Crisis to Sustainable Growth. A long-term perspective study. The World Bank. Washington D.C.



R.J. Connor

La trypanosomiase animale transmise par les tsé-tsé est un grave facteur limitant de la production agricole et du développement rural dans de vastes zones de l'Afrique subsaharienne. La régression économique générale actuelle du continent est liée à la réduction des dépenses pour l'éducation d'une population de plus en plus nombreuse. En outre, la proportion des dépenses consacrées à l'enseignement supérieur est actuellement sérieusement contestée. C'est dans ce contexte qu'il apparaît maintenant nécessaire de dispenser une formation en cours d'emploi, orientée vers le terrain, aux spécialistes de la lutte contre les tsé-tsé et la trypanosomiase, dans le cadre du Programme régional de lutte contre les tsé-tsé et la trypanosomiase (RTTCP) et ailleurs.

L'objectif des programmes de formation organisés à l'intention des professionnels est de renforcer la capacité régionale et nationale, d'administrer sur le terrain les divers aspects pratiques de la planification, d'exécuter et d'évaluer les programmes de lutte contre les tsétsé et la trypanosomiase. L'amélioration du contrôle de la trypanosomiase animale qui en résultera aura un effet positif sur la production agricole et le développement rural, avec les avantages économiques correspondants.

La proposition tendant à organiser une formation dans le cadre du RTTCP prévoit la participation du personnel de haut niveau à un programme de formation à temps partiel. Le programme comprendra une série de modules, entre lesquels sera dispensée une formation en cours d'emploi. Ces modules seront organisés en étroite liaison avec les universités de la région et les sujets enseignés seront directement en rapport avec les problèmes rencontrés sur le terrain. Le cours comprendra trois modules fondamentaux: biologie générale des tsétsé et de la trypanosomiase; planification; analyse et communication des données. Trois modules supplémentaires seront ensuite proposés aux candidats: biologie, prospections et lutte contre les tsé-tsé, ou bien en biologie, prospection et lutte contre la trypanosomiase. Lorsque des études correspondant à six modules auront été menées à bonne fin, un diplôme sera décerné, tandis que, pour un module à option, un certificat sera obtenu. Il y aura douze place pour chaque module, ce qui permettra de décerner jusqu'à 24 diplômes et 72 certificats au terme des deux premières années de formation.

L'avantage fondamental du programme proposé est que les candidats acquerront dans les conditions locales une formation et une expérience parfaitement adaptées aux exigences du développement. En outre, la participation d'institutions de la région et l'utilisation de ressources régionales permettront de renforcer les capacités locales de lutte contre les tsé-tsé et la trypanosomiase.

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