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IRIN Examines Potential Strategies To Fight Sleeping Sickness In Tanzania’s Rural Communities

“Tackling land-use conflicts around game parks must form part of the national strategy to stop the spread of [Trypanosomiasis, or sleeping sickness], warn doctors fighting the disease in Tanzania,” IRIN reports. According to the news service, “Tanzania’s booming tourism industry has been driven largely by its wildlife parks, which contribute almost $1.8 billion a year to the economy,” but “[a] growing number of communities find their villages ‘squeezed’ between wildlife areas, putting them at risk from tsetse flies that spread … sleeping sickness, a debilitating and often fatal disease.”

“Furaha Mramba, director of [the Tsetse & Trypanosomiasis Research Institute (TTRI)], said efforts to stamp out the disease faced numerous challenges in Tanzania — from scarce resources to the laborious process needed to develop traps and targets and poaching, which disturbs animal populations and transfers the fly larvae outside the parks,” IRIN writes. “One of the biggest challenges Tanzanian health authorities face is the sheer scale of the areas they need to cover,” the news service adds, and discusses the use of “Nze traps, which use blue targets treated with insecticide that attract flies,” buffer zones surrounding parks, aerial insecticides, and SIT, an insect birth control, as potential strategies to address the problem (2/27).