Dynamic Drivers of Disease in Africa: Interactions of livestock/wildlife, poverty and environmental change
This project was part of the ESPA scoping phase, which ran between 2008 and 2011. The subsequent application for further funding resulted in NE/J001570/1.
This Partnership and Project Development Grant aimed to build an African-European Dynamic Drivers of Disease in Africa Consortium - the DDDAC - positioned to generate new, systematic understandings of the dynamic drivers of disease in African settings, and their interrelationships with a range of ecosystem services and dimensions of poverty and wellbeing.
The Consortium developed and applied an holistic systems framework that integrated perspectives from environmental, biological, social, political and human and animal health sciences.
Through a combination of mapping and detailed field studies, we built a multi-layered analysis of 'regions and people at risk', relating the localised experiences of different women and men, youth and elders, and people of different occupations to regional and national patterns. In the process, we developed and applied new methodologies for systems analysis, mapping, and participatory eco-epidemiology, and developed the capacity of a range of researchers and users to work across disciplines, issues and African settings. Through this approach, we identified, promoted and communicated intervention points and policy approaches to mitigate negative environment-disease dynamics and helped build resilience and adaptive capacity amongst people living in rural African settings.
In this way, the Consortium provided a much-needed evidence base and set of practical approaches to operationalise the 'One World, One Health' agenda, in ways that also promoted sustainable poverty reduction. In many environments in Africa, diseases that were transmitted through livestock or wildlife took a major toll on people's lives and livelihoods. Diseases such as Rift Valley fever transmitted via cattle in dryland savanna areas of East Africa; trypanosomiasis transmitted via the tsetse fly in woodland areas of southern Africa; Lassa fever transmitted by rats in West Africa's forests or Hendra and Nipah viruses transmitted by bats and causing encephalitis, often brought illness, death or further impoverishment to people who were already poor and suffering from a multiplicity of other health problems.
While environmental change affected the distribution and transmission of such zoonotic diseases, there was little systematic understanding of how, why, where and for whom downward spirals of environmental change, zoonotic disease and poverty emerged, and the thresholds and tipping points at stake.