Schistosomiasis (bilharzia) is a neglected tropical disease, a group of communicable diseases common in tropical and subtropical settings. To effectively combat the disease, an integrated effort combining diagnosis, treatment, education, and prevention of infection risks is essential.
According to the World Health Organization (Resolution WHA70.16), prevention strategies should include control of snails, the intermediate hosts of schistosomiasis, which transmit the disease to humans. The success of disease prevention and control measures depends, on the one hand, on their feasibility and, on the other hand, on acceptance by the target groups and stakeholders.
Against this background, the HAW Hamburg, together with the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, is investigating the potentials of fish cultures as a possible infection control measure to reduce the transmission of schistosomiasis in affected rice fields in Atsinanana, Madagascar.
The aim of the RESAMP project is to explore the potentials of innovative aquaculture interventions implementing the fish species Heterotis niloticus (African arowana) in rice fields to prevent and control the transmission of schistosomiasis in Madagascar. A feasibility study will be conducted with partners from Madagascar and Germany. Here, the HAW Hamburg focuses on questions of Implementation Research and Public Health:
- What best-practice examples exist for implementing agroecological interventions to prevent and control vector-borne diseases in general and schistosomiasis in particular?
- Which site-related factors can be identified that would support or hamper the implementation of the aquaculture intervention?
- Which community and cultural factors, e.g. individual risk behaviour or scepticism towards the intervention, can be identified that would support or hinder the implementation of the intervention?
The expected results provide useful information for planning and implementing the proposed aquaculture intervention in the target region. The project thus addresses a research focus of global relevance and aims to find innovative solutions by using agricultural practices to combat schistosomiasis in Madagascar. This is also in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to strengthen economic independence and population health globally.
The project is funded within the framework of the German Alliance for Global Health Research (GLOHRA)).
Funding body: German Ministry of Research and Education (BMBF)
Reference number: 01KA2109B