President Edgar Lungu has challenged scientists and livestock stakeholders to eradicate tsetse fly.
Tsetse flies occur in 40% of Zambia’s land area and cause Human Animal Trypanosomiasis (HAT), commonly known as sleeping sickness. It is fatal to animals and humans.
“The increasing presence of tsetse flies has serious negative consequences for the growth of the agriculture and tourism sectors,” the president said in a speech read on his behalf by Livestock and Fisheries Minister Michael Katambo at the 34th African Union International Council for Trypanosomiasis Research and Control Conference.
The conference is being held in Livingstone, Zambia.
Lungu said 60% of the country’s cattle is at risk, while cases of tourists getting sick when visiting national parks are increasing. “Therefore, my government supports initiatives to eradicate the tsetse flies that cause the tropical disease, threatening human and animal life, and urge the conference to come up with a roadmap to eradicate the disease,” he said.
Delegates from 38 African countries are attending the meeting. The theme of the conference is “Capitalising on progress made against HAT – the way forward in partnership with all stakeholders”. It closes at the weekend.