The POU-Ruaha project blog was intended as an online journal to document the design and evolution of the POU-Ruaha Project, a water quality intervention and micro-enterprise assessment and development project located in the Great Ruaha River Basin, Tanzania. The POU Project has been delayed due to funding and time table constraints, enabling the blog to function as a journal documenting the progress of a Master’s in Science thesis project investigating diarrhea prevalence in calves, kids, and lambs, and risk factors associated with disease transmission in pastoral households in the Ruaha community. The thesis project is a sub-component of the Global Livestock CRSP-funded Health for Animals and Livelihoods (HALI) Project in the Ruaha Ecosystem, Tanzania.
The Great Ruaha River and its tributaries are the key water sources for wildlife, livestock, and domestic use. Water quality in the Ruaha river system has been significantly impacted through the combination of reduced flow and environmental contamination. The proximal coexistence of people, livestock, and wildlife provides conditions favorable for transmission of viral, bacterial, and parasitic disease agents.
Master’s Thesis Project
It is the objective of this research to investigate linkages between the prevalence of Cryptosporidium among the most vulnerable livestock populations (calves, kids, and lambs) and the risk of human infection. The proximal location of vulnerable livestock to the household may increase the opportunities for disease transmission, as humans are in close contact with oocyst-contaminated feces, an important transmission vehicle for Cryptosporium. Furthermore, it is expected that certain household practices and behaviors (livestock management and sanitation practices, to name a few) serve to increase or decrease the likelihood of disease transmission. Through an interdisciplinary approach, based on sociological research methodology, this small-scale, in-depth study aims to describe the role that livestock management and human behavior play in reducing or elevating the risk of zoonotic disease transmission. The study is managed by David Wolking, a graduate student in International Agricultural Development (IAD) at the University of California, Davis.
The POU-Ruaha Project was designed to investigate diarrhea disease incidence in the Ruaha region, concentrating on the development and adaptation of BioSand Filtration technology for a point-of-use (POU) water quality intervention study in the area. Through the implementation of a field trial among agro-pastoral households identified as high-risk for diarrheal disease, the project will assess the impact of improved water quality on disease incidence in both people and their livestock. The project will also address the development of a micro-enterprise model to drive production and supply of the filters, and ensure the sustainability of the POU BSF system. The POU-Ruaha Project is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2008.