Field School for Knowledge for Postgraduate Students Studying Masters Degree in Public Health Pest Management

The Africa Centre of Excellence for Innovative Rodent Pest Management and Biosensor Technology Development (ACE IRPM & BTD) organized a Filed School for Knowledge for a group of 27 Masters Students in the Eastern Usambara Mountains, from 21st -27th November 2021.

Field Schools for Knowledge are practical oriented activities to impart certain desired skills on trainees to be able to perform their research activities with perfection using standard approved protocols. The ACE IRPM &BTD funded the Field School for Knowledge for the MSc students with full scholarship who are studying Pest Management in Public Health in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Sokoine University of Agriculture. The same type of training is provided to newly enrolled PhD Candidates sponsored by ACE IRPM &BTD before they embark on research proposal development.

The broad objective of the Field School for Knowledge is to develop and increase research skills relevant to conducting field studies on various topics of interest to the students.

The Field School for Knowledge conducted in Muheza in the Eastern Usambara Mountains in November 2021 aimed at providing training in a number of techniques that are highly relevant for conducting research on rodents and zoonotic diseases associated with them. Upon finishing the Field School for Knowledge training, the students are expected to acquire certain skills that are relevant to the topics they have chosen to research on for their MSc. Dissertation.

Activities conducted during the Field School for Knowledge in Muheza are:

  • Carrying out habitat survey (forest, agricultural land and savannahs),
  • Setting grids and trapping animals,
  • Processing of captured animals (toe clipping, removal of ectoparasites, serum collection, preservation of organs, labeling, etc.)
  • Learning about aspects and their natural history,
  • Taxonomy (animal identification: genus and species occurring in the Usambara Mts),
  • Physiology and sample collection for disease screening.
  • Zoonoses associated with rodents

Accompanying Lecturers and Professors during the Field School for Knowledge gave lectures on some theoretical and practical approaches to small mammal studies and zoonoses.

The following broad topics were covered in the lectures:

  1. Introduction to the Ecology and Taxonomy of Rodent
  2. Rodent borne zoonotic diseases
  3. Data collection and management
  4. Introduction to rodent endoparasites and haemoparasites

The ACE IRPM & BTD Field School for Knowledge programme started in 2018 and to date we have conducted 6 of them in the Western Usambara Mountains (Lushoto), Eastern Usambara Mountains (Muheza) and the Selous Game Reserve. In total the Field School for Knowledge have involved over 130 students.

This year a group of 27 MSc. students participated in the Field School for Knowledge. In addition, 2 students who have embarked on PhD research proposal writing joined in.

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