Supporting the Government in Testing its Herds for BTB
ETHICOBOTS has offered our support to the Ethiopian Government with ambitious plans to clean Government herds of Bovine TB. On the 2nd of October, ETHICOBOTS met with the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Resources and its State Minister Dr Gebre Egziabher to discuss control strategies.
A One Health Approach, Prof Henrietta Moore
— ETHICOBOTS (@ethicobots) December 11, 2017
With the help and support of ETHICOBOTS student Bedaso Mamo, final year Cambridge student Sara Robson spent time in Bishoftu, carrying out a cross sectional study visiting dairy farms and surrounding rural areas. They interviewed 99 farmers to obtain information on socio-demographics, herd characteristics, knowledge, attitudes and practices relating to brucellosis, with the aim of identifying knowledge gaps and the potential risks for contracting the disease that are present for dairy farmers and their families.
The majority (92%) had never heard of brucellosis, with no difference between urban and rural areas. A higher proportion had heard of a disease causing late term abortion (36% urban, 9% rural), but very few had knowledge of the cause, transmission routes or whether humans could be infected.
Mathematical Modelling Training
Getnet Mekonnen has just completed training on Mathematical Modelling of Infectious diseases at Imperial College London. Here, he details the importance of his training:
“It was high time for me to attend such training to advance my understanding on transmission modelling in relation to Ethiopia, where cattle movement control is at a primitive stage.”
“Uncontrolled cattle movement is an ideal means for disease distribution even in rural areas. Therefore, we study transmission of cattle tuberculosis based on the cattle movement pattern data we have.”
“We use network analysis and simulation modelling in conjunction with disease prevalence and distribution. The training gave me deep insights into a variety of modelling techniques and gave me the opportunity to connect with scientists and colleagues who will be useful for further interaction.”
“I would like to express my gratitude for the training which was made possible from the support of ETHICOBOTS project.”
As of August, the construction of the Barn was completed. So far, 44 of the 60 calves have been recruited with the remaining 16 calves to be recruited before the end of the month.
Focus group discussion in Hawassa, collecting data which will be used to form a report on major animal and human diseases of urban and peri-urban dairy farms in Ethiopia.
PhD Student Progress
Bedaso Edao is a PhD student who studies in the UK as well as conducting fieldwork in Ethiopia. His focus is brucellosis – a highly contagious zoonosis caused by ingestion of unpasteurized milk or undercooked meat from infected animals, or close contact with their secretions.
“I have been conducting field research in Ethiopia on epidemiology of brucellosis in urban and peri urban dairy farms in Addis Ababa. I attended a general writing skills course at the Veterinary School which was organised by the graduate office of the school. I have also undertaken basic bacteriology and serology training at APHA, Weybridge which has provided invaluable input for my laboratory work in Ethiopia. Based on the data I have got from the field, I am writing my first year assessment report, which is tentatively planned to be conducted at the end of July 2017.”
Vaccine efficacy and transmission rates between different cattle breeds will be tested as part of work package three. In order to run the experiment, we have built a barn at the National Animal Health Diagnostic and Investigation Centre which is weeks away from completion. The barn has been built in collaboration with Addis Ababa University and forms part of our projects capacity building aims.
Social Science Training
The ETHICOBOTS Social Science team took members to International Livestock Research Institute for a 3 day training course. Epidemiologist and Project Coordinator, Dr Adane Mihret said:
“We have had a good participatory epidemiology training where almost all attended. We are planning to use the training for our field work in the coming few weeks and hopefully we will test it in Hawassa at the end of October.”
UK partners Prof James Wood and Dr Stefan Berg visited Ethiopia in the last week of July for discussions with Ethiopian Partners. With some changes in key personnel, it was an important opportunity to reevaluate our management structure.
We also looked at possible expansion plans for The National Animal Health Diagnostic and Investigation Centre.
Last week Louise Horner from our funding body, DFID, caught up with our Ethiopian partners for a project update. Left to right: Dr Adane Mihret, Dr Gobena Ameni, Dr Hawult Taye, Ms Louise Horner, Dr Dawit Alemu, Dr Getnet Mekonnen, Mr Bamlak Tessema.
Practice Makes Perfect…
We have designed a large multi-disciplinary questionnaire which will form the basis of our research. The questions posed to farmers will allow us to find out a number of things, including their farming habits and how they manage their own health.
Before extending this to our study sites, we completed a small pilot study to test for problems and to make sure the data was compatible with our database.
Studying the results from the small pilot study will allow us to refine and improve the questionnaire. It also allows us to spot questions which may be superfluous to requirement, and to add questions which we may have missed.
After a lengthy tender process we have now received all vehicles for our project. These are vital to the success of our field work which relies on travel to and from farms in and around Addis. We hope their benefit will long lasting after our project finishes in 2019, the vehicles will stay at the institutions aiding future research.
Prof Henrietta Moore Awarded DBE
Congratulations to Professor Henrietta L. Moore who was made Dame Commander of the British Empire in the 2016 New Year Honours for services to social sciences.
Professor Moore has been honoured in recognition of her contribution to the Social Sciences, and her services to business, policy and the arts. The Honours List notes her extensive empirical work focusing on gender, livelihood strategies, social transformation and development, as well as her recent work on global sustainable futures, virtual worlds and new technologies.
To mark the first year of all projects working on diseases that afflict both humans and animal health worldwide, we hosted the first ZELS Grantholders’ Workshop organised by the BBSRC. The two day event, held at The Møller Centre in Cambridge, encouraged engagement between stakeholders and projects. We enjoyed talking to other projects about potential collaborations that could mutually improve our research.
To coincide with the Grantholders’ Meeting, we also launched our own twitter account: @ethicobots which we will use to promote our activities and important project milestones.
ETHICOBOTS 2015 AGM
A year into the ETHICBOTS project, all institutions met on October 1st for the second annual general meeting. Members from each work package gave presentations of their work followed by group discussion. It was a great opportunity to bring the group together to discuss progress and solve challenges in all six work packages. Combining individual work pack meetings with large group discussions, we were able to maintain and encourage vital integration between the science and social science elements of the project.