Community participatory approaches in the epidemiology and control of trypanosomosis in camels in Turkana district, Kenya.
This thesis describes a study of the use of participatory approaches in the epidemiology and control of camel trypanosomosis (surra) in Turkana District of Kenya. The objectives were: 1) to evaluate the ability of the Turkana to diagnose, treat and control camel trypanosomosis; 2) to estimate the incidence of and mortality due to camel trypanosomosis in Turkana District; and 3) to assess the socio-economic impact of camel trypanosomosis on the Turkanas. Four animal camps (adakars) were conveniently selected for the study. In each adakar, three groups of informants were selected to form a total of 12 groups for participatory exercises. Each group comprised of five to eight informants. The participatory methods used were mapping, matrices, proportional piling, trend-lines and semi-structured interviews. In addition, blood samples were collected from camels for trypanosomosis diagnosis using Latex Agglutination Test (LAT) and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). At the end of the study, a stakeholders' workshop involving the Turkana pastoralists, the Intermediate Technology and Development Group (ITDG), the District Veterinary Officer (OVa) and the Veterinary Officer (VO) of the area, the chief and assistant chief, and investigators, was held. The participatory map showed key features including forests, rivers as well as areas with wildlife (buffaloes, lions, wild cats, elephants, gazelles, foxes, jackals, warthogs, kudus, ostriches, leopards) and biting flies (camel flies, houseflies, tsetse flies, mosquitoes, ticks and lice). The important presenting signs for camel trypanosomosis mentioned were overt ventral oedema, loss of appetite, reduced milk yield, rough hair coat, abortion, low birth-weight calves, small udders, emaciation, listlessness, swollen joints, coughing, shrunken hump at terminal stages, and death within 3-5 months of infection. The post mortem lesions listed were watery and fibrous meat, lack of fat around the heart, and watery bone marrow. The informants were in good agreement on most of the signs of surra with Kendall's level of concordance (W) ranging from 0.675, 0.753, 0.860 to 0.885 for infertility and abortion, skin lesions, loss of hair and oedema respectively. The causes of surra according to the informants were stagnant water shared by livestock and elephants, rain, a riverine tree called esokon (Saivadora persicai, a shrub called edome (Cordia sinensis), a type of pasture called epoo (Grewia spp) occurring during the rainy season, and biting flies. There was good agreement (W = 0.547 to W= 0.729) between the informants on the uses of camels which included provision of milk, meat, blood, fat, and hides, payment of dowry, barter trade, payment of fines, killing to seal marriages in the absence of an ox, slaughtering to appease the ancestors, as an indicator of wealth, initiation of elders to higher levels, and slaughtering to mark burial ceremonies of elders. On the control of surra. the indigenous method appeared to be the most preferred and included drenching of sick animals with a varietyof herbs mixed with soups from goat, wildcat, bird or donkey meat. Branding of oedematous areas on the body of affected camels was also used for treatment. The seasonal calendar showed that most cases of surra occurred immediately after the rainy season as well as in the dry season. The results of proportional piling showed that almost half (49.3%) of the camel population suffered from one disease or another over the past one year with surra (lotorobuo) recording the highest (11.4%) incidence. The annual incidence of surra was highest in adult camels (15%) relative to calves (6.9%). This pattern was also reflected in surra mortalities with the rate in adults being 9.9% and in calves 5.2%. According to the results of the trend line, the levels of surra were highest in 1978 but declined thereafter to a stable state from 1996 to 2002. There was poor agreement between the diagnosis of surra by pastoralists and by LAT (kappa = 0.1875) and PCR (kappa = 0.32). However, LAT and PCR had excellent agreement (kappa = 0.75). Based on the study findings, it is concluded that the camel plays an important role in the lives of the Turkana pastoralists and that surra is an important camel disease, which exerts a heavy toll in terms of morbidity and mortality. There is a need to conduct a community-based, integrated control programme of surra in Turkana District.