Project description:

ZOOTOX-2007-11: Collaborative research in environmental toxicology and zoonotic diseases in the Human ? Domestic animal ? Wildlife interface areas of Eastern and Southern Africa - A South-North Veterinary Network

Project Synopsis

The veterinary network encompasses six faculties at Universities in Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa in the South. The Norwegian School of Veterinary Science (NVH) is the Norwegian partner. In addition, we have close cooperation with researchers at the National Veterinary Institute, Oslo, Norway.

The main objective of this project is collaborative research and human resource competence building within the areas of Zoonoses and Environmental Toxicology. Studies on zoonotic diseases and environmental toxicology represents the continuation of the ongoing NUFU network project (NUFU PRO 08/02) This project will address the issues pertaining to the human-livestock–wildlife interface areas in Eastern and Southern Africa. A major goal is to utilize the expertise and collaboration of participating countries in the established North and South network of senior researchers and PhD scholars. Tangible issues will encompass needs developed in the execution of the ongoing project (2001-2006). Thus, utilization of modern epidemiological tools (modeling, risk assessment, etc.) and new diagnostic tools (serological and molecular) will be the focus of the current project. In the spirit of the collaboration started in Phase I, this phase will address the issue of limited access to literature in the countries by establishing a literature information system through distant and open source learning platforms. Issues of limited competence in some of the diagnostic techniques, particularly molecular tools, will be solved by establishing centers of excellence in the south where researches in the network will share its resources. The offering of joint post graduate courses in modern epidemiological concepts in the south shall be a remedy in dealing with inadequate capacity of individual countries to train their PhD students and even researchers on aspects such as diseases modeling and risk assessment. Environmental Toxicology research will focus on further development, validation and application of molecular and serological techniques for monitoring environmental pollution by pesticides, biotoxins, heavy metals and industrial chemicals in Eastern and Southern Africa.

Expected Results

This project will address pollution of water bodies by xenobiotics from anthropogenic sources and biotoxins of natural origin, as well as important zoonotic infections in the Human – Domestic animal – Wildlife interface. Seven PhD candidates (7 theses) will be produced, of which 4 is funded through the project, appr. 27 scientific papers in international or national peer reviewed journals will be published on the background of results from the project, and each PhDstudent is expected to give appr. 2 conference presentations during the period, in addition to the annual-meeting presentations. The PhD students will have courses and training periods in Norway during the project period. The PhD candidates from the former project period will be supervisors of the new PhD candidates, which is members of staff at the local faculties. The project will thus further build and strengthen the veterinary network established in the former project period, bot between South-South and between South-North.