(BOSTON) July 21, 2009 - A menace to the African cattle population for more than a century, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has declared rinderpest eradicated in Ethiopia. Ethiopia, which grappled with the cattle-killing disease that threatened its food supply and its economy for decades, is celebrating the eradication on Saturday July 25, 2009.
A team from Tufts University's Feinstein International Center (FIC) and the Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM) will participate in the celebration. Jeffrey Mariner, DVM, research associate professor in the Department of Public Health and Family Medicine at TUSM, repurposed a rinderpest vaccine that could be transported to rural areas without refrigeration. Delivery of the previous vaccine was problematic due to heat sensitivity. FIC's Berhanu Admassu, DVM, MSc and Darlington Akabwai, DVM, assisted the Ethiopian government with distribution barriers by developing novel community-based approaches to vaccination. Eradication of rinderpest in Ethiopia is especially crucial because the country has the largest cattle population in Africa.
"Most of the veterinarians working in East Africa are based in cities and towns and do not often travel to remote regions where nomadic communities are highly dependent on cattle and other livestock that's why the community-based approaches supported by Tufts were so important," said Andy Catley, PhD, a research director at FIC.
Community participation involved training pastoral livestock owners living in remote, marginalized areas of Ethiopia as community-based animal health workers (CAHWs). Most could not read or write, but mastered the cattle vaccination process by attending special training courses in the field, designed by Ethiopia's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MoARD) and Tufts veterinarians. The CAHWs cared for cattle on a daily basis and provided invaluable insight into the history of the disease in Ethiopia. The
|Contact: Andrea Grossman|
Tufts University, Health Sciences