WSU Economists Study Family Economic Health in East Africa
Tom Marsh and Jon Yoder talk about livestock
diseases with Moses Ole-Neselle,
a current WSU
graduate student in the Allen School, and
Maasai on the Simanjiro Plains, Tanzania.
If cattle are your primary asset, losing one to disease can affect your
entire family. For the Maasai in east Africa, disease such as East Coast
fever*, a leading cause of calf deaths, impacts a family’s health and children’s
Tom Marsh and
Jon Yoder , are conducting a pilot survey to learn how families make
economic decisions when vaccines for cattle become more readily available.
"We are looking at how interventions such as vaccines can reduce livestock
losses and improve family well-being," explains Dr. Jon Yoder, associate
professor in the School of Economic Sciences, who lived in Tanzania as a child.
Understanding the decisions livestock-dependent families make and how they fare
when vaccinations or improved treatment options are available are central
questions in their research.
"Paying for their own health care or kid’s education is directly tied to the
health of their animals," said Tom Marsh, professor in the School of Economic
Sciences. "If cattle are healthy they can sell them to invest in other things
that can economically benefit the family."
With help from Allen School collaborators and Kenyan research assistants, Marsh
and Yoderare in the process of surveying 500 households to learn how families
make economic decisions once cattle have received vaccines. What they learn
will help to improve animal health intervention strategies in East Africa.
To learn more, visit the
Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health website.
* East Coast fever (ECF) is caused by the single-celled parasite Theileria
parva, which is transmitted primarily by the tick (Rhipicephalus appendiculatus)
as it feeds on susceptible cattle. The disease has been controlled through
acaricide treatment for tick management and herd selection of resistant
animals. Acaricide control, however, has become less viable due to the high
cost of acaricide treatments, access to functional dipping facilities, and
alternative tick hosts. Environmental and sustainability issues are also
important, including toxic residue contamination of the environment or food, and