The health of humans and animals is closely related to social-ecological systems. Hence, if we want to improve the health of humans and their livestock in a given setting, we need to better understand how behavioural, climatic, cultural, demographic, ecological and socio-cultural factors are interlinked and govern the health of human, animals and entire ecosystems. This is a complex undertaking that needs systems thinking.
We aim to improve the epidemiology and control of human schistosomiasis and livestock fascioliasis in two different social-ecological settings of West Africa.
Human schistosomiasis and livestock fascioliasis will be assessed in the Lake Chad area (western Chad) and the Korhogo region (northern Côte d'Ivoire) using standard protocols. The dynamics of the hydrological systems (seasonal extend of water surface) and environmental data (e.g. land surface temperature, vegetation indices and land use patterns) will be obtained by readily available high-resolution remote sensing sources. Social systems assessments will include demographic composition of humans and their livestock. Socio-economic status will be determined by a household-based asset approach. The spatio-temporal dynamics of human schistosomiasis and livestock fascioliasis will be compared between western Chad and northern Côte d'Ivoire and setting-specific risk factors will be determined. Disease control interventions will be developed through a participatory approach, involving local communities and other stakeholders.
This project will result in (i) a better understanding of social-ecological systems that govern selected human and animal parasitic diseases; (ii) an integrated approach for risk profiling of human and animal diseases; and (iii) community- and other stakeholder-led interventions that are tailored to given social-ecological contexts in western Chad and northern Côte d'Ivoire. Taken together, our project will improve the health of humans and animals, improve people's social wellbeing, and maintain ecosystems and the services they provide.