Dynamic Drivers of Diseases in Africa: Ghana Case Study

The Dynamic Drivers of Disease in Africa (DDDA) consortium is a n ESPA-funded research programme that seeks among things to investigate bats-human interactions and possible disease spillover from bats to humans under different contexts. in line with this, the socio-economic team of the DDDA. A field survey conducted by the team from 17th to 22nd february 2014 at Ve-Golokuati sought to investigate fruit bats particularly the Gambian epaulettes fruit bats (Epomophorus Gambianus) which are widely recognized as resevior hosts of viruses of proven or potential significance for human and veterinary health. In developing countries emerging infectious diseases such as Hendra, Nipah and Ebola viral infections which are particularly considered as major human health threats have been linked to certain fruit bats.Ghana project designed a research instrument to investigate the hypotheses that; people’s exposure to disease risk is affected by their use of cultural and provisioning ecosystem services (bush meat, food crops, water, grazing, fuel and fibre).It also sought to investigate how poverty and social difference affect practices of ecosystem service use and hence exposure disease. The social component of the study in Ghana focused on three study sites namely:The 37 military hospital in the Greater-Accra regionVe-Golokuati in the Volta regionThe Tano sacred grove in Tanoboase in the Brong Ahafo region Earlier work  by the study team had identified the Gambian epaulettes fruit bats as the most dominant in the Golokuati study site. This species live in small colonies within the township mostly in matured mango trees and other tall trees which provide shade within households and public places.  The team spent time to educate respondents on the objectives of the project as well as  soliciting  their consent for the blood screening.The team adopted a multifaceted data collection technique to address research questions. Qualitative and quantitative data was carried out simultaneously with a four member medical team and a five member veterinary team. A total of 106 survey respondents participated. The medical team was able to collect blood samples from the survey respondents for screening. The veterinary team also collected blood samples of domestic animals within the respondents’ households for laboratory analysis.