By 2006, the acute and zoonotic Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense sleeping sickness in Uganda was spreading northward, leading to fear of a merger with the chronic Trypanosoma brucei gambiese type that affects people in the northwest of the country. Eliminating infection in cattle was urgent because they had been confirmed to be spreading the zoonotic type, and eliminating infection would reduce the animal reservoir and subsequently reduce transmission of sleeping sickness. In this article, we describe how the staff and students of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Makerere University, adjusted their approach to training veterinary students who could provide the urgently needed manpower to enable the community to halt the disease's spread. Because it was not usual for university staff and students to implement disease control activities, the government of Uganda had to delegate this responsibility to Makerere University. In turn, the university had to explore available opportunities in its training and outreach mandates. A model was developed that proved to be an effective hands-on training strategy while helping to control a disease that was threatening the health of people in a community that was just recovering from an armed rebellion. In total, 66 students and supervisors participated in the 10-week-long mass treatment activities in the target area and treated more than 190,000 out of 220,000 targeted (>86%) cattle with diminazene aceturate and deltamethrin. Also, the graduates' performance improved, as indicated by 43.5% of graduates securing employment within less than a month after completing the course.
Waiswa, C.; Kabasa, J.D. Experiences with an In-Training Community Service Model in the Control of Zoonotic Sleeping Sickness in Uganda. Journal of Veterinary Medical Education (2010) 37 (3) 276-281. [DOI: 10.3138/jvme.37.3.276]