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Improving farmers' health and livelihoods through treating water with Phytollaca Dodecandra to prevent bilharzias and liver-fluke.

Photo of Ronald Muhwera
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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

There is a growing Liver fluke disease that is attacking domestic animals in Eastern Uganda leaving farmers with countless losses. Liver flukes are flat parasitic worms, which attack the liver and bile duct in domestic animals and humans. The animals are infected by drinking dirty water. In Eastern Uganda, studies on economic losses due to liver-fluke disease estimated annual losses of US$510,000 (Noki, 2010).We are working to improve the farmer’s health and livelihoods by using phytollaca dodecandra to treat water to prevent liver fluke and bilharzias. The saponins in the unripe fruits of Phytollaca dodecandra have strong molluscicidal activity against a range of water snails, and are readily soluble in water and easy to isolate. These properties are useful in the destruction of these snails, which can carry vectors of human diseases such as bilharzia (schistosomiasis) in humans and Liver fluke in animals. We use local technology to crush the fruits of phytollaca dodecandra into dry powder which we use to control bilharzias and liverfluke-transmitting snails, as they are a cheaper and less toxic product than synthetic molluscicides. The saponins in the dodecandra fruit pulp are not actively molluscicidal until we combined with an enzyme in the seed to secure contact between the saponins and the enzyme, and ensure the release of the molluscicidal saponins, it is important to finely crush the fruits before soaking them in water. We apply the dodecandra fruit powder for snail control by making slurry of the dried and ground fruits in water. Shortly before application the solution is diluted with river water and administered by siphoning the liquid into the river from a barrel. The rivers are treated when the water level is low and the snails are concentrated in relatively small areas.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

This project will begin with the most affected areas per the project survey. This covers the cattle corridor areas in Eastern and Northern part of Uganda which are under high Bilharzia infestation. These areas are usually affected by floods within in the rainy seasons of the year. Cattle corridor area also uses water ponds to store water to use in the dry seasons when the rain water is scarce for animal consumption and crop irrigation. These ponds has snails which causes liver fluke in animals and bilharzia in human. . We plan to work in 12 districts and 48 sub-counties. Each of the 48 sub-counties will have 50 beneficiaries.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

We use local technology, materials in the project implementation right from the time of planting Phytollaca dodecandra to time when its in powder form read to apply in water ponds to kill snails. Phytollaca dodecandra powder is an organic plant-derived molluscicides which is a better alternative to other recommended molluscicide which are costly for developing countries and toxic to some non-target species like bacteria, and algae. This will change lives of many people within different communities, provide affordable method of killing snails and will also provide decent job to the poor people within the target areas for the project. The project is sustainable and affordable to farmers with low income.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Prototype: I have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing the idea.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

Phytollaca Dodecandra initiative uganda is a social enterprise that deals specifically in water and agriculture to increase human livelihood and protecting the environment through good agronomic practices, fruit growing and other farming products. This is done through organizing communities into groups and trains them in various activities, equips them with unique insights into all aspects of agriculture supply chain as well as consumer attitude and trends.

Expertise in sector

  • 1-2 years

Organization Filing Status

  • No, but we plan to register in the future.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

I grew up in the village where the only source of income was livestock farming. We lost a lot of cattle’s due to wide spread of parasitic infection whose intermediate host was aquatic snails. This affected the populations income and the stands of living to the community that led to more school dropouts due lack of school fees. That was a motivation factor for the community to invent possible means of preventing the disease which introduced the use Phytollaca dodecandra to kill the aquatic snail

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

Schistosomiasis is a widespread parasitic infection whose intermediate host is aquatic snails and affects more than 250 million people worldwide. (2006) reported that more than 700 million people are at risk of infection whereas 207 million people are infected with the disease. According to (WHO) (2016), the disease has been reported in 78 countries, 90% of those requiring treatment live in Africa (WHO, 2016) and it is responsible for at least 200,000 deaths annually in sub-Saharan Africa (Jenkins-Holick and Kaul, 2013). Although control of the snails with synthetic molluscicides is possible, it is not greatly preferred due to concerns of environmental toxicity and the relatively high cost of the chemicals. Conversely, organic plant of phytollacca dedocandra molluscicides are a better alternative to reduce the disease. This will lead to safe animals hence increased milk and meat production that results to increased income, prosperity, Unit and peace in a well reserved environment.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

This project idea demands for cooperative, determined and committed stakeholders. We shall engage different stakeholders, Government authorities like Ministry of health, ministry water and sanitation and CSO’S that work for the development of community and the involvement of the community itself in developmental works. We will involve technical experts in trainings and instructors to ensure proper water and sanitation hygiene, prosperity within farmers that brings in unity hence peace in the region. We also engage local farmers associations with in the region especially those in marginalized groups of 20-50 rural farmers with atleast one acre of land reserved for Phytollaca dodecandra growing.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

Annual rainfall of about 1400mm and a distinct dry period, high evapotranspiration, especially at lower elevations (below 1,500 metres) partial shade is also available so that the plants do not burn and wilt.The area also have weakly acidic soils that contain high levels of organic matter that enable the plant to flower and fruit all year round hence Annual fruit yield increases.These conditions favor the growing of Phytollaca dodecandra plant.The demand for our product is also high in Uganda

Geographic Focus

This project covers the cattle corridor areas in Eastern and Northern part of Uganda

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

The project idea require 36 month to be implemented.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No


Join the conversation:

Photo of Ana Luisa Ahern

This is an incredible initiative! What a great way to employ local technology to solve a public health crisis. Best of luck to you!

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