Fifty years of Tsetse control in Tanzania: challenges and prospects for the future
Tsetse flies are the vectors of trypanosomes, the causative organisms of trypanosomiasis, nagana, in animals and sleeping sickness in man. In Tanzania, tsetse transmitted trypanosomiasis is one of the most important disease affecting both animals and humans. About 40% of land suitable for grazing and areas with high agricultural potential are currently tsetse infested. It is estimated that about 4.4 million livestock and 4 million people are at risk of contracting tsetse borne trypanosomiasis. African animal trypanosomiasis (AAT) causes loss in animals due to mortality and reduced milk yield, which is estimated at US$ 7.98 million annually. Even after 50 years of independence, Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT) or Sleeping Sickness is still one of the major public health problems with about 300 cases being reported annually. Tsetse control has been sporadic and uncoordinated hence no tangible results have been accrued since independence despite the fact that technologies which have facilitated tsetse control in other places are available. Fifty years of independence have seen shrinkage of tsetse belt to 43% in 16 surveyed regions. Opportunities for future are wide open if tsetse control will involve all stakeholders, who are directly or indirectly affected by the tsetse problem; if tsetse and trypanosomiasis eradication will adopt an area wide and participatory approach with emphasis on environmentally and user friendly techniques for expanded livestock sector; improved food security and livelihood in affected communities, for achievement of the millennium development goals.