The current debate on how best to deal with tsetse-transmitted trypanosomiasis focuses on issues of scale, sustainability and cost. Much of the discussion on the costs of the different methods is based on comparisons from different countries, calculated at different times, including different cost components for projects with different management structures, duration and objectives.
To inform the debate about which approaches could be used in Uganda, new cost estimates for large scale tsetse elimination operations have been produced. These include management overheads, estimates for maintaining barriers and are annualised over several years. They are also underpinned by the results of modelling the impact of the different techniques on isolated and non-isolated tsetse populations. The results for isolated populations confirmed the accepted ranking of costs per sq km cleared of tsetse: insecticide-treated cattle (US$ 130-400) traps used against savanna flies (US$ 400-500), aerial spraying (US$ 500-600), traps for riverine flies (US$ 900) and suppression followed by release of sterile males (US$ 1,000-1,300). The relative ranking is robust but the costs are highly sensitive to certain assumptions: whether the tsetse population is isolated; the amount of management, accompanying research and monitoring required; the method of insecticide application for insecticide-treated cattle and the fact that the cost of sterile male production and release is necessarily additional to prior investment in suppression. For the many situations where tsetse populations are not isolated, targets, traps or insecticide-treated cattle would need to be deployed as barriers to reinvasion; thus possibly requiring the use of more than one technique.
The report concludes that there is a real need to achieve a consensus on the suitability of different techniques for dealing with tsetse in different situations. To this end, past schemes need to be reviewed and guidelines need to be agreed upon as to which approaches are technically feasible / optimal under which conditions (of habitat, fly species combinations etc.). In view of substantial cost differentials among the different approaches, economic considerations must be included among the criteria for choice of technique for tsetse elimination, especially given the multiple demands on financial resources for such initiatives, which are working towards the over-arching goal of poverty alleviation.
A two page executive summary is also available in addition to this paper.
PPLPI, FAO, Rome, Italy, vii+51 pp.