Dynamic Drivers of Disease in Africa: Interactions of livestock/wildlife, poverty and environmental change

Lead Research Organisation: Institute of Development Studies
Department Name: Research Department


In many environments in Africa, diseases that are transmitted through livestock or wildlife take 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 bring illness, death or further impoverishment to people who are already poor and suffering from a multiplicity of other health problems. While environmental change affects the distribution and transmission of such zoonotic diseases, there is little systematic understanding of how, why, where and for whom downward spirals of environmental change, zoonotic disease and poverty emerge, and the thresholds and tipping points at stake. This Partnership and Project Development Grant will 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 will develop and apply a holistic systems framework that integrates perspectives from environmental, biological, social, political and human and animal health sciences. Through a combination of mapping and detailed field studies, we will build 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 will develop and apply new methodologies for systems analysis, mapping, and participatory eco-epidemiology, and develop the capacity of a range of researchers and users to work across disciplines, issues and African settings. Through this approach, we will identify, promote and communicate intervention points and policy approaches to mitigate negative environment-disease dynamics and help build resilience and adaptive capacity amongst people living in rural African settings. In this way, the Consortium will provide a much-needed evidence base and set of practical approaches to operationalise the 'One World, One Health' agenda, in ways that also promote sustainable poverty reduction.


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