Socioeconomic module
Entry costs
Collective action
Knowledge & attitudes

Management and socio-economics of tsetse control

Knowledge and Attitudes

The successful and sustainable adoption of bait technologies for tsetse control requires investigation and management of the knowledge and attitudes that cattle-owners (and other community members) have about tsetse and trypanosomiasis.

Some of the most important questions about knowledge (or beliefs) are as follows:

Do cattle-owners have a clear concept of trypanosomiasis as a disease?

Answers to this question may be complex. Cattle owners may have detailed knowledge of clinical signs of disease; for example, there are now accounts from widely scattered areas of Africa that cattle-owners recognise loss of tail hair as a sign of trypanosomiasis, even though this is not commonly noted in veterinary textbooks (Catley et al., 2002a). However, in different areas, local knowledge may either give different names to chronic and haemorrhagic trypanosomiasis (Catley et al., 2001) or use terms that encompass a variety of diseases recognised by Western veterinary diseases: trypanosomiasis occurring as a single entity, trypanosomiasis in combination with other parasitic infections, or certain other combinations of parasitic infections (schistosomosis + fasciolosis or parasitic gastroenteritis + fasciolosis) (Catley et al. 2002a). Careful investigation of indigenous names for diseases and disease complexes is necessary before reaching conclusions on such questions.

Do cattle owners recognise that tsetse is the sole biological vector of trypanosomiasis?

This will not necessarily be the case. Cattle owners in tsetse-infected areas are likely to believe that tsetse is one, or the most important, vector of trypanosomiasis, but may also believe that other species, such as Tabanids or Hippobosca, also act as vectors – in the case of tabanids the possibility of mechanical transmission in some areas would give some justification for this. Cattle owners may also be very concerned about other nuisance flies, even if they do not believe they are vectors.

Do cattle-owners realise that trypanosomiasis can occur even when they rarely or never see tsetse?

Because most savanna species of tsetse feed predominantly in the early morning and evening, because of the distance tsetse can travel, and because of the strong possibility of populations of many tsetse species subsisting mainly on meals from wildlife, it is quite possible for trypanosomiasis to be transmitted under conditions where cattle-owners rarely, perhaps never, see tsetse flies. It will be important to establish whether cattle-owners appreciate this fact.

Important dimensions of cattle-owner attitudes to explore include:

• The priority of trypanosomiasis as a problem: it will be important to establish how importantly cattle-owners and others rank trypanosomiasis as a problem for their livelihoods, and specifically in comparison with other animal diseases and animal production constraints.

• Attitudes to new technology.

• Attitudes to prevention as distinct from treatment.

Attitudes towards collective action are treated elsewhere in this module.

For information on methods for investigating knowledge and attitudes click here.

For discussion on changing knowledge and attitudes click here.

Catley, A et al. (2001) Participatory diagnosis of a chronic wasting disease in cattel in southern Sudan. Preventive Veterinary Medicine 51,161-181.

Catley, A et al. (2002a) Participatory investigations of bovine trypanosomiasis in Tana River District Kenya. Medical and Veterinary Entomology 16, 55-66.




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