Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Interdisciplinary Doctorates for International Development

By Professor James Smith

Engaging with African Neglected Zoonotic Diseases

We are pleased to welcome a cohort of four new PhD students whose doctoral research will focus on how we stop the ‘neglect’ of African Neglected Zoonotic Diseases (NZDs). These ESRC and University of Edinburgh-funded students will contribute to the INZI project.

The group of a dozen or so so-called ‘neglected tropical diseases’ (NTDs) infect one billion people at any one time and more than one third of the world’s population – almost all in the poorest parts of the world - is exposed to these diseases. Infected individuals often suffer from multiple debilitating infections, limiting life and livelihoods, requiring expensive treatment and consequently driving cycles of poverty.

An especially problematic sub-set of NTDs are also zoonotic, and are the focus of this research. These endemic or (re)emerging diseases infect humans and animals, and often transfer by vectors, which presents greater challenges for control and treatment. They are also contingent on changing environmental contexts, and generate new risks in terms of food insecurity and emergent disease.