Wellcome Trust, Science seek to stem upsurge in animal disease emergencies hitting developing countries

Researchers are converging in Cambridge, UK, to find ways of translating research findings faster into pro-poor animal health policy and practice.
Rift Valley fever, which continues to spread in East Africa, killing more than 90 people in Kenya alone, brings into sharp focus the inadequacies of animal health delivery systems in developing countries and the role of the global community in redressing these. This mosquito-transmitted disease is also hurting the livelihoods of poor people by killing their young cattle and sheep and causing ‘abortion storms’ in their pregnant stock.

Brian Perry, a veterinary epidemiologist at the Nairobi-based International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), argues today (19 January 2007) in Science, a leading scientific journal, that animal diseases impeding livestock enterprises in developing countries are being ignored by the global community, leaving developing countries stranded with outmoded disease control systems that serve neither the needs of the poor nor the global community. In his article, ‘Science for Development: Poverty Reduction through Animal Health’, Perry and co-writer Keith Sones argue that the global community needs to give greater thought and investment to building scientific capacity in animal health research within developing countries.

Perry’s article explores opportunities afforded by science to help resolve this mismatch. Perry also points out high-priority areas requiring new funding. The article sets the tone for a high-level conference on animal health research taking place in Cambridge, UK, next week, at which Dr Perry and other ILRI colleagues will be presenting their research findings to an international group of experts. The conference is co-sponsored by the Wellcome Trust (UK) and Science.

To obtain the article by Brian Perry, ‘Science for Development: Poverty Reduction through Animal Health’ (Science, Vol. 315. no. 5810, pp. 333–334), please contact the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) at +1 202-326-6440 or scipak@aaas.org. Or get the article online (subscription required) at: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/315/5810/333.

For interviews, contact Catherine Mgendi at +254 20 422 3035 or cell: +254 726 243 046; c.mgendi@cgiar.org.
Or contact Brian Perry direct at +254 20 422 3000; b.perry@cgiar.org