Research into the social, economic and environmental factors causing disease in livestock and people

Tanzania, like most countries in sub-Saharan Africa, is experiencing big changes. Urbanisation is increasing demand for milk and meat products and bringing pastoral communities closer to urban centres. Meanwhile, land-use pressures have resulted in the encroachment of pastoral livestock into wildlife areas.

Other changes include the effects of market pricing and the intensification of livestock production systems. These are being driven by national policy, through the national livestock policy and international trade (especially with Kenya).

Researchers in the Social, Economic and Environmental Drivers of Zoonoses in Tanzania project, led by Professor Sarah Cleaveland and Professor Jo Sharp, are exploring the consequence of these changes on livestock-keeping practices and zoonotic disease risk. Currently, these consequences are almost unknown.

Our researchers are looking at brucellosis, Q fever and Rift Valley fever (RVF). In addition to these diseases, existing collaborations will allow us to investigate other zoonotic infections, such as leptospirosis.

We are working in Arusha Region, northern Tanzania and the research sites comprise:

  • Peri-urban settings in the Arusha municipality.
  • Agro-pastoral communities close to Arusha.
  • Pastoral communities further away from Arusha and bordering wildlife protected areas.

The study sites have been selected to allow comparisons to be made, and the research team will draw on social, cultural, political, economic, environmental and epidemiological analyses.

Specifically, researchers will explore:

  1. How social, cultural, political, environmental and economic drivers of change influence livestock management practices.
  2. How changing livestock management affects the prevalence of zoonotic infections in livestock.
  3. How zoonotic infection prevalence in livestock relates to infection in people and disease risk in different socio-demographic settings.
  4. The extent to which zoonotic diseases in livestock and people affect poverty.

The likelihood that potential policy options and interventions for disease control and prevention will be accepted and taken up will also be examined by including, at all stages of the research process, engagement between researchers, communities and policymakers at local, national and international levels.


Download the Livestock, Livelihoods and Health leaflet.
Download our Summary document to read about the methodology and objectives for this project in greater detail.

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