Menzies launches a BRUCE-TL project to tackle brucellosis disease

Menzies launches a BRUCE-TL project to tackle brucellosis disease


DILI, 20 june 2023 (TATOLI)- Menzies School of Health Research, officially launched Brucellosis Reduction Using Codesign Elements project in Timor-Leste (BRUCE-TL), to tackle and control brucellosis in Timor-Leste.

The BRUCE-TL Project is a collaboration between the Menzies School of Health Research (Menzies), the Timor-Leste Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, the National Institute of Public Health Timor-Leste – Ministry of Health, the Public Health Laboratory, and the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.

Menzies’s official site wrote brucellosis is a disease that can spread between animals and people.

Therefore the new project is commencing, especially in Bobonaro Municipality, to strengthen the government and local community’s ability to respond to bovine (cattle) brucellosis which has an impact on human health, animal health, livelihoods, and food security.

“It will utilize a One Health approach, which recognizes the connection and balance needed between the health of humans, animals, and the environment to achieve a solution,”

This project will be focused on bovine (cattle) brucellosis, as explained, cattle are of high economic, social, and cultural value to smallholder farmers in Timor-Leste, However, brucellosis heavily impacts this, where infected livestock experience reduced weight gain, abortion, and infertility.

“Being a zoonotic disease (meaning it spreads from animals to humans), it can also affect those working closely with cattle and can be passed via the food chain, if infected products are consumed. Therefore tackling the impacts of brucellosis will help to reduce occupational health hazards of working with livestock, as well as increase productivity and the safety of food in Timor-Leste,”

Meanwhile, this project invites the community to gather evidence, co-design, and implement brucellosis control within their village and it offers a different way to address the issue.

“It also has the ability to inform longer-term, national strategies. The framework for a One Health response to brucellosis at the village level could be scaled up for implementation at the municipal or national levels or modified to tackle other health priorities for the country.” said Chief Investigator of BRUCE-TL project and Menzies Senior Research fellow, Dr Shawn Ting.

While Director of Veterenary of Ministry of Agriculture and Fishery, Dr. Joanita Bendita Jhon said:”, In settings where there are limited resources and a relatively high prevalence of brucellosis in cattle, such as Timor-Leste, traditional top-down government approaches such as test-and-slaughter are impractical and likely to be unacceptable to farmers,”

“The BRUCE-TL project illustrates the interdependence of human and animal health and the importance of multidisciplinary collaboration in preventing and tackling brucellosis. This puts the One-Health concept into action and highlights its importance to the economy of our farmers/community,” said President of the National Instito of Public Health (INSPTL) of Ministry of Healt (MoH), Dr. Merita Monteiro.

Aciar Research program manager for livestock system, Dra. Anna Okello said Contributing to evidence on the societal and public health benefits of animal disease control is a key pillar of the ACIAR Livestock Systems strategy.

“As a foodborne disease, brucellosis research also fits into the ACIAR focus on strengthening food systems and the objective of understanding the role of and better supporting the business case for One Health approaches within local communities,” she said.

INSP-TL and Menzies will continue to work alongside to strengthen health research capacity in Timor-Leste to facilitate evidence-based interventions or decisions.

So far the research is made possible through financial support from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the project is scheduled to run until the end of 2025.



Journalist: José Belarmino De Sá

Editor: Nelia B.



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