Supporting Evidence-Based Interventions (SEBI)

University of Glasgow’s surveillance platform launch in Tanzania

Thirty participants met for the launch of the University of Glasgow’s surveillance platform project at the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) in Arusha, Tanzania on 5 May 2017.

Participants included representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, the Government of Tanzania’s One Health Coordination Unit, Sokoine University of Agriculture and partner institutions from Tanzania - NM-AIST, Zonal Veterinary Centre, Tanzania Veterinary Laboratory Agency, Kilimanjaro Clinical Research Institute (KCRI), the UK (Moredun Research Institute), USA (Global Animal Health Tanzania/Washington State University) and New Zealand (Otago University). The launch was followed by a training workshop for District Veterinary Officers and Livestock Field Officers on 8 May, which was also attended by representatives of the National Artificial Insemination Centre and laboratory staff from the Kilimanjaro Clinical Research Institute.

Participants at the launch meeting were welcomed on behalf of NM-AIST by Vice Chancellor Professor Karoli Njau. As part of a comprehensive programme for the day, the project was introduced by the Univeristy of Glasgow, Tanzanian team and there were presentations on animal disease reporting in Tanzania and the country’s one-health disease surveillance strategy. Representatives from the Moredun Research Institute made presentations on the diagnosis of abortion in livestock.  Working groups discussed issues surrounding data collection instruments and communication, laboratory diagnosis and field outbreak investigations. During the training event, participants received information about several specific disease agent, and gained practical experience in field investigation, including communication with farmers and the project team, issues around ethics and consenting, collection and recording of data, use of personal protective equipment and other health and safety advice, and collection and transport of diagnostic samples.

About the University of Glasgow’s Surveillance platform project

This project examines the impact of a range of diseases that cause mortality in livestock through a combination of new analyses of existing samples and data, and focusing new data collection on investigation of abortion-related mortality. It builds on work already being undertaken by the SEEDZ [link:] project of Livestock Livelihoods and Health [link:] but it broadens the range of diseases investigated to include protozoal pathogens such as Neospora caninum and Toxoplasma gondii, and several viral pathogens, including Bovine Viral Diarrhoea virus, Bovine Herpes virus-1 and Bluetongue virus.

The project will help to further develop disease surveillance mechanisms in northern Tanzania by establishing a Surveillance Platform to investigate abortion events and other causes of mortality with the eventual aim of developing effective and sustainable intervention strategies. Based on the knowledge generated, these interventions will help reduce livestock mortality.

The project will also collate and analyse existing data on reproductive losses and mortality in Tanzanian cattle and small ruminants at national level and will generate new data on the seroprevalence of infection with abortigenic agents in livestock in smallholder, agropastoral and pastoral farming systems. The surveillance platform established as part of the project will generate prospective data on the aetiology, incidence and impact of abortion in livestock and will develop a framework for identifying and evaluating potential interventions to control the losses from these diseases.

Project staff based at the NM-AIST support regional livestock officers of the Zonal Veterinary Centre and Tanzanian Veterinary Laboratory Agency in investigating cases of abortion. The Kilimanjaro Clinical Research Institute, with support from the University of Otago, carry out additional diagnostic testing on samples collected in the field. The work in Tanzania is coordinated by Global Animal Health Tanzania, part of Washington State University.

The project is managed by the Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine at the University of Glasgow which, together with project partners, will coordinate the implementation of the project, carry out data analysis and develop appropriate intervention strategies. The Moredun Research Institute and Napier University provide expertise on the collection, isolation and identification of specific pathogens.

The project runs from 1 March 2017 for 30 months.