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H.G.B. Chizyuka1


African animal trypanosomiasis is one of the major constraints to agricultural development in general, and livestock production in particular, on the African Continent. Over 9 million square kilometres of Sub Saharan Africa is infested with tsetse fly, making sustainable agriculture unachievable.

Trypanosomiasis, the disease transmitted by the tsetse fly, prohibits cattle from otherwise suitable stock raising areas. Direct losses due to the disease are caused by mortality and loss of condition resulting in lowered production amongst infected livestock. Indirect losses are in terms of lower agricultural production which, in turn, affects the social and economic well being of the people in the vulnerable rural areas, since most of the income of these people in developing countries is derived from the agriculture sector.

There is formidable pressure in most developing countries of Africa to open new areas for agriculture, due not only to pressure of human population, but also to the exigencies of enhancing and increasing agricultural production to feed the ever increasing population.

In view of the magnitude of the problem the tsetse fly causes through trypanosomiasis, in 1974 the World Food Conference mandated the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations to design and implement an African Animal Trypanosomiasis Control Programme on a continental scale. Much has been accomplished since the resolution of the above Conference was passed and yet there is still much to be achieved.

Diverse methods of tsetse and trypanosomiasis control are available and being practised either singly or in combination, depending upon the ecology of the area, livestock population and economic feasibility of the methods for the particular situation. Some methods which were popular a few years back are no longer considered felicitous due to improvement and innovation in new methods which are considered more cost effective and environmentally safe.

1 Director
Department of Veterinary
and Tsetse Control Services
Lusaka, Zambia

In order to execute tsetse and trypanosomiasis control programmes there is need for well trained manpower at various levels. There are abundant examples of well planned projects having failed due to lack of trained manpower. Experience shows that, although it may not be difficult to get experienced and well versed experts, the same may not be said of middle level personnel. This cadre is crucial to the implementation of tsetse and trypanosomiasis control programmes.

This paper addresses training needs at the technical level for tsetse control field personnel, with Zambia as a case study.


In Zambia tsetse control services form an integral part of the Department of Veterinary and Tsetse Control Services, under the Ministry of Agriculture.

The institutional organisation of the tsetse section is given in table 1.

The Assistant Director, Tsetse Control, is a university graduate, with considerable experience in Tsetse control methods and administrative capabilities. He is in charge of the section and makes policy decisions.

The Tsetse Control Biologist is a university graduate with an interest in entomology. He is responsible for translating policy decisions into action and guiding the technical staff at field level.

The Tsetse Control Officer has a certificate in tsetse control proficiency and must have undertaken a specialised seven and half months course in tsetse and trypanosomiasis control. He is expected to work either under the biologist or independently, where one is not available. The Tsetse Control Officer is responsible for executing the control measures under the guidance of a professional.

The Tsetse Control Assistant has completed a two year course at the Zambia Institute of Animal Health in tsetse and trypanosomiasis control methods. The tsetse control assistant is stationed at camp level in the field where he carries out his operations. Depending upon the programme of work, he may have some temporary workers under him. With the new concept of tsetse control he is required to work very closely with the people of the area.

In Zambia, as in many other developing countries, shortage of trained and experienced staff to carry out vital tsetse and trypanosomiasis control operations is recognised as a serious constraint. This need has become even greater following developments in tsetse control technology involving traps and targets.

Keeping the above in mind, it is strongly felt that the technical staff should be trained (and retrained) in such a way that, besides improving their knowledge in tsetse and trypanosomiasis control methods, they should be good extension workers who command the confidence of the community in which they work. They should be able to communicate with the people of the area and provide them with leadership and motivation. Developing these qualities in technical staff is essential in view of the need to implement low cost tsetse control measures involving the full participation of the rural communities.

Further, it is well recognised that, in agricultural economies having a livestock component, improvement in animal management, development of pastures and water resources are as important as disease control. Tsetse control is no longer seen as an end in itself. Areas cleared of tsetse fly need to be put under agriculture activities if the fly encroachment has to be checked, while surveillance needs to be continually maintained.

Table 1.


Zambia, in conjuction with UNDP and other donors, set up a training project for technical staff, executed by FAO, as far back as 1980. The project ran a seven and half month course ‘annually, initially in Lusaka, with practicals at a field camp (Lutale) near Mumbwa and laboratory work at the Mazabuka Research Station. This programme was expanded by a successor project (RAF/85/1015), “SADCC Regional Training Centre for Middle Level Personnel for the Control of African Animal Trypanosomiasis”. Under the project the following was attained:

  1. Setting up a fully operational training centre at Lusaka, with a field camp 170 kilometres west of the city adequately equipped with teaching aid and apparatus to cater for up to 25 middle level trainees.

  2. Assembling of teaching materials and drawing up of syllabi for courses appropriate to the needs of the participating countries.

  3. Training of 17 – 23 middle level personnel annually during 1985–1989 by means of a six and half month course. The training course has the following pattern:

    a)Introductory period in Lusaka7 week
    b)Lutale field camp (dry season)3 weeks
    c)Lusaka stop over1 week
    d)Zimbabwe visit3 weeks
    e)Lusaka writing up2 weeks
    f)Kasaba bay (L. Tanganyika)1 week
    g)Lusaka stop over1 week
    h)Lutale field camp (hot season)3 weeks
    i)Final period in Lusaka7 weeks

The course covered basic classroom and laboratory work in Lusaka and to some extent at the camp.


Before the training needs are identified it is important that a career framework for the technical staff is also clearly identified. This is in order to prevent frustration among staff and to motivate them. Often, well experienced and trained staff are lost because they find no prospects in the existing structure.

There is a need to look into the basic course the technical cadre takes before going out into the field. Most courses are geared at producing officers oriented towards tsetse control operations alone. In view of the integrated approach towards tsetse control, there is need to change the course content in order to produce technical officers who, besides carrying out their duties of tsetse and trypanosomiasis control, are also able to address some of the basic problems of the farmer.

The in-service courses for technical level staff should be of both short- and mediumterm.

The short-term (+ 1 month) should be more field oriented and be sufficiently flexible to adapt quickly to the changing demands of the field.

The courses should be held more often locally and all technical level tsetse control staff should have an opportunity to attend a course at least once every two years.

The courses should be of a local nature so that time can be spent towards addressing local problems and solutions worked out with the participants.

Since tsetse and trypanosomiasis control are being handled by the same staff, the technical staff need to know more about the diagnosis, treatment, etc. of trypanosomiasis epidemiology.

For senior staff at technical level there should be slightly longer courses of four to six months where, besides tsetse and trypanosomiasis control measures, other disciplines such as environment protection, ecology and extension methods, are included.



H.G.B. Chizyuka

La trypanosomiase animale africaine est la maladie du bétail qui entrave le plus le développement agricole mixte sur plus de 9 millions de km2 en Afrique subsaharienne. Cette énorme région est infestée de mouches tsé-tsé qui transmettent la maladie. Les pertes causées par la trypanosomiase animale transmise par la mouche tsé-tsé ne se traduisent pas seulement par une mortalité accrue du bétail et par l'affaiblissement de la production animale, mais aussi par une baisse de la production agricole, due à la mortalité élevée ou à l'affaiblissement des animaux de trait, au détriment du bien-être socio-économique des collectivités vivant dans les régions infestées. Comme il est indispensable d'augmenter la production agricole et d'alléger la pression démographique, il faut absolument assainir de nouvelles terres actuellement infestées par la mouche tsé-tsé. En raison de l'ampleur du problème posé par la lutte contre la mouche tsé-tsé et la trypanosomiase, la Conférence mondiale de l'alimentation a confié à l'Organisation pour l'Alimentation et l'Agriculture (FAO) en 1974 le soin de mettre au point et d'exécuter un programme de lutte contre la trypanosomiase animale africaine à l'échelle du continent.

Des progrès considérables ont été accomplis ces dernières années en ce qui concerne les méthodes de lutte contre la tsé-tsé. Le contrôle de la tsé-tsé et de la trypanosomiase devrait désormais être considéré comme faisant partie intégrante des plans de développement rural viable.

Pour toutes ces raisons et pour d'autres liées à l'exécution des projets, il devient de plus en plus nécessaire de former et de perfectionner le personnel technique de niveau intermédiaire. La formation ne devrait pas être limitée aux sujets techniques concernant la tsé-tsé et la trypanosomiase, mais couvrir également des sujets connexes comme la vulgarisation, l'utilisation des sols, les pratiques en matière d'élevage et les techniques de communication de telle façon que le personnel technique puisse jouer un rôle d'animateur et obtenir la participation de la collectivité. Les gouvernements africains devraient structurer leurs organismes de lutte contre la tsé-tsé de façon à retenir le personnel qualifié et à le motiver en lui offrant des perspectives de carrière. Il faudrait aussi organiser des stages de formation en cours d'emploi, de courte durée ou de durée moyenne. Dans le présent document, les besoins en formation du personnel technique de la Zambie sont examinés comme une étude de cas utilisable pour d'autres pays africains.

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