EU Funded International Consortium on Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases

Friday, December 28, 2007

The European Union has inaugurated the start up meeting of the International Consortium on Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases at a colourful gathering at the Sheraton Hotel and Resort. The purpose of the recent meeting was to bring together African Universities and Research institutes, in collaboration with Asian and European partners, with the aim of preparing a proposal for submission to the Welcome Trust.

Among the main aims of these recent initiatives are the strengthening of local research capacity and also to strengthen capacity in African institutions for academic disease research. The principle focus of this research is ticks and tick-borne diseases affecting humans and animals.

The recent meeting was organised thanks to the initiative of Dr. Bonto Faburay, representing ITC The Gambia and Professor Fens Jon Gejan, representing the University of Pretoria South Africa. Research scientists from South Africa, The Gambia (ITC), Ghana, Zambia, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Mali, Senegal, The Netherlands, Belgium, the UK, Spain and Japan were brought together by the event. The meeting was supported by the EU funded International Consortium on Ticks and Tick-borne diseases (ICTTD).

Speaking at the gathering, SoS for Agriculture Hon Kanja Sanneh talked about the importance of the initiative for addressing health problems in Africa. He added that scientific research in health constitutes a major force for development in modern times. He further added that innovations leading to improvements in the lives of people and animals would not be possible without research. Mr. Sanneh said it was noteworthy that there is a lack of adequate capacity for endemic disease research in many African countries. Efforts to solve many health problems common to humans and animals failed to achieve the desired successes due to a lack of collaboration between the fields of human and animal research.

He disclosed that the Department of State for Agriculture is prepared to provide all the support required to create and strengthen capacity in African Universities and research institutions.
Investing in health research constitutes an effective strategy to boost economic development and contributes to the efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals, Mr. Samuel said.
He thanked the International Tryponotolerance Centre (ITC) and the coordinator of the ICTTD, Professor Frens Jongejan, for the funding.

For his part the acting Director of C Farmers Sanyang said, ITC is an autonomous institution with international status and its mission is to contribute to the efforts in increasing livestock productivity and utilisation in African regions. It aims to do this through the optimal and sustainable exploitation of the genetic resistance of indigenous breeds of livestock to benefit the human population.

Mr. Sanyang thanked all the contributors and participants and also commended ITC for initiating such a consortium and for hosting it successfully.

Author: By Soury Camara & Yerro Mballow
Source: The Point