BHEARD Student Research Profile: Richard Gashururu

Richard Gashururu is a PhD candidate from Rwanda currently researching Applied Parasitology at the University of Nairobi in Kenya.

Richard Gashururu monitoring tsetse fly distribution.
Richard Gashururu monitoring tsetse fly (Glossina) distribution around the human-wildlife-livestock interface of Akagera National Park - Kageyo (Kayonza, Rwanda). Pictured: Richard Gashururu S. (Project PI), Source: Investigator

Thesis

Epidemiology of african trypanosomiasis at the human-wildlife-livestock interface of Akagera National Park, Rwanda.

How would you describe your research to a non-scientist?

Tsetse flies transmit a disease called African trypanosomosis to both humans and animals. The disease is known as sleeping sickness in humans and Nagana in cattle. Akagera National Park and its surroundings remain the lone residual home to tsetse flies in Rwanda. However, there is no reliable scientific data and very little is known about trypanosomes and their biological vectors (tsetse fly - Glossina) in the area. This study aims to contribute to a better understanding of the parameters determining the epidemiology of African trypanosomiasis and serve as a scientific baseline in Rwanda. This will, therefore, contribute to setting adequate and focused control measures in line with the FAO Progressive Control Pathway (PCP) to reduce and eliminate African Animal Trypanosomiasis (AAT). It is moreover supporting to World Health Organization (WHO) Pathway for validation of sleeping sickness elimination in Rwanda and the region.

What do you hope to achieve with your research?

Come up with a better understanding of the disease transmission dynamics and a scientific back up required to set adequate control measures.

What is your favorite aspect of your research?

The favourite aspect of this research is the multidisciplinary and collaborative approach it has involved. This research project was made possible by the collaboration with different national, regional and international institutions with different expertise. Those are the University of Rwanda - School of veterinary medicine; Rwanda Agriculture and animal resources Board (RAB) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (Rwanda); the International Center for Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe, Nairobi - Kenya); The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) / Akagera National Park management, the BHEARD Program, and the Programme against African Trypanosomosis (PAAT) of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

Is there anything else you would like the public to know about your research?

The adequate control of African trypanosomiasis requires coordinated regional efforts and a One Health approach.

Richard Gashururu is a PhD candidate from Rwanda currently researching Applied Parasitology at the University of Nairobi in Kenya.

The BHEARD program, supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), develops agricultural scientists and increases agricultural research capacity in Feed the Future partner countries, including Liberia. The program is named after Dr. Norman Borlaug, an American biologist, humanitarian and Nobel laureate who has been called “the father of the Green Revolution.”

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