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Drawing from a variety of sources, the paper sets out to review the role and importance of socio-economic factors and the necessity to incorporate cultural aspects in the design and implementation of policy with regard to the research and control of tsetse and trypanosomiasis (T&T). The Programme against African Trypanosomiasis (PAAT) commissioned this review in 1998 with the purpose of amalgamating several draft papers on socio-economic and cultural impacts of T&T control into one, broad-ranging paper. First, the paper shows that an armoury of control techniques is available for combating the disease and that nowadays one admits that an integrated approach using a combination of techniques, supported by the use of trypanocidal drugs, is likely to be the most effective strategy for T&T control. Second, the review emphasizes the role of economic analysis as one of improving the ability of planners to make better decisions regarding the implementation and sustainability of T&T control programmes. Thus there is a need to distinguish between “macro-planning”, which takes a telescopic view of the entire life of the programme to derive quantitative measures of its social profitability, and “microplanning”, which deals with day-to-day operations and functioning of the programme as modelled by local institutions, social rules and norms. Third, the paper indicates that, at present, there are no models for community-managed T&T control. Indeed, several lessons on the need and importance of socio-economic and cultural factors ought to be learned from the disillusionment with both large-scale, government-managed schemes and the questionable sustainability of most small-scale, community-based programmes, which will help to determine when and how it might be appropriate to involve a village, group of villages and individual livestock owners in T&T control. Of particular importance are up-front notions of distribution of benefits among stakeholders, free-riding by non-members, empowerment of local communities, management and organizational capability, gender and equity issues to be addressed prior to the implementation of T&T control programmes.

Keywords: tsetse, trypanosomiasis, control techniques, socioeconomic factors, cultural aspects, community, organization, sustainability.

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