Life-saving vector control project Tiny Targets shortlisted for leading KE award

News article 30 Oct 2023

A Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine-led research and knowledge exchange project to reduce the abundance of tsetse flies and protect people from the Gambian form of Human African Trypanosomiasis (g-HAT) has been shortlisted for Place-based KE Initiative of the Year at the PraxisAuril KE Awards 2023.

Research led by LSTM with a host of international research and industry partners led to the development of Tiny Targets – a cost-effective, easy-to-use vector control tool which has significantly contributed to the reduction of g-HAT cases. 

HAT is a parasitic disease which is transmitted by tsetse flies. Two forms of the disease exist but the Gambian form is by far the most common, accounting for over 90% of HAT cases. Historically, vector control was not cost effective and played little part in g-HAT disease management. Diagnosis and treatment for g-HAT are complicated, and if left untreated, the disease is fatal. During the last major epidemic in the 1990s, the World Health Organization estimated that half a million people died each year.

Over recent years, Tiny Targets used in combination with screening and treatment of cases have contributed to the elimination of g-HAT as a public health problem in Côte d'Ivoire and Uganda, and vector control is helping to accelerate elimination efforts in other countries where the technology is used.

Dr Andrew Hope, Senior Programme Manager in the Vector Biology department at LSTM, who has worked on the Tiny Targets project, said: “We are very pleased to have been shortlisted for this award. The development of Tiny Targets could not have happened without a particular focus on knowledge exchange, combining expertise from northern and southern research partners, national control programmes and industry, each bringing their own distinct experience. This approach continues as the Tiny Targets continue to be rolled out in new countries.”

KE Awards

The PraxisAuril KE Awards celebrate the people, partnerships and creativity that underpin the UK’s KE activity.

Organised by the UK’s professional association for KE practitioners and sponsored by UKRI, the PraxisAuril KE Awards celebrate the many individuals and teams that create sustained impact from the UK’s world-class research base with a diverse range of partners and programmes.

Winners are announced at a special awards ceremony on November 23rd.