Congo/Combating zoonotic diseases: the Ebo-Sursy project delivers its latest results

Published on 20/06/2024 | La rédaction


The final Ebo-Sursy project feedback workshop for Congolese partners was held on June 19 in Brazzaville. This initiative, funded by the European Union to the tune of 10 million euros, is led by a partnership consortium comprising the World Organization for Animal Health (Omsa), the Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement (CIRAD), the Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD) and the Institut Pasteur.

The Ebo-Sursy project, coordinated by Omsa and implemented by consortium members in close collaboration with national partners, aims toimprove systems for the early detection and prevention of viral hemorrhagic fevers through through institutional capacity building and the one-health principle through education and training, raising community awareness of the risks associated with zoonoses, strengthening national protocols for multi-sectoral surveillance of viral hemorrhagic fevers, ...

Launched in 2017 in response to the 2016 Ebola virus epidemic, the Ebo-Sursy project was implemented to strengthen epidemiological surveillance of zoonotic diseases in Africa, in particular Ebola, Marburg, Rift Valley fever, Crimean-Congo fever, Lassa fever and coronaviruses. The project studied these pathogens using a "One Health " approach, i.e. at the animal-human-environment interface. Indeed, 60% of human infectious diseases are of animal origin.

"In the Republic of Congo, the Ebo-Sursy project has developed a multi-sectoral approach to improve understanding of the mechanisms of zoonotic disease emergence. Numerous field missions on the mechanisms of zoonotic disease emergence have been carried out in the Congolese the Congolese Cuvette, Niari and Bouenza regions to study the ecology of bats and the circulation of hemorrhagic fevers and coronaviruses, in close collaboration with the University of Marrakech.The project is being carried out in close collaboration with the Université Marien-Ngouabi, the Laboratoire National de Santé Publique and the Direction Générale de l'Elevage. In his opening remarks, Mathieu Bourgarel, health ecologist and project coordinator for CIRAD, stressed the importance of the project.

Underlining the importance of this project for the Congo and the other participating countries, the Director General of the National Public Health Laboratory, Pr Roch Fabien Niama, pointed out that today, more than ten countries have signed up to the project.Today, more than a dozen master's students have been trained, and nearly four science thesis students are almost ready to defend their theses, thanks to this project. The National Public Health Laboratory has also made its entire technical infrastructure available to the project, both in terms of human and material resources.

Focus on zoonoses in a "One Health" approach

Based on the premise that disseminating knowledge about zoonoses and transferring diagnostic technologies to local players would improve surveillance and response preparedness, the project was organized into three components: building institutional capacity through education and training; raising awareness of disease risks among communities and national technical services; strengthening surveillance protocols through multidisciplinary scientific field studies and the development of better diagnostic tests.

Raising community awareness of zoonoses

In Congo, over 200 local technical agents and community representatives have been mobilized through awareness-raising and public education actions, aimed at informing the local population about the risks associated with zoonotic diseases. The project also led to the publication of twelve scientific articles on the work carried out, and the development of sixteen awareness-raising tools adapted to local contexts.The project also led to the publication of twelve scientific articles on the work carried out, and to the development of sixteen awareness-raising tools adapted to local contexts, thus strengthening community resilience to emerging health threats, such as the Alerte serious game and an educational kit (...).

Finally, participatory approaches have been deployed to strengthen the involvement of local communities in surveillance and early detection systems for emerging hemorrhagic fevers....

It should be noted that Omsa, CIRAD, IRD and the Institut Pasteur have joined forces to set up a multidisciplinary team, whose cross-disciplinary skills have made it possible to apprehend the challenges and complexity of hemorrhagic fevers.hunderstand the challenges and complexity of zoonotic disease issues in a holistic and multidimensional way (from the molecular to the ecosystemic level) in ten African countries:Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Cameroon; Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Guinea, Liberia, Senegal and Sierra Leone.


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