APOPO is about to complete training and testing of 10 mine detection rats (MDR) in our training and research facility in Tanzania in preparation to deploy to Cambodia and begin operations.
This is the first time that our MDR have been deployed on survey and clearance operations outside of Africa. APOPO plans to recruit and train Cambodian handlers to team up with the 10 MDR by mid-year so that MDR survey and clearance operations may then commence.
Meanwhile APOPO Program Manager for Thailand and Cambodia Kim Warren is overseeing the operations of our other non-MDR mine clearance assets such as human de-miners with metal detectors, demining machinery/vehicles and support staff. Kim says: “We are looking forward to bringing the mine detection rats to Cambodia. They are trained to sniff out explosive vapor and have the advantage of being able to work quickly and cost effectively. It is going to be interesting to see them working on Cambodia soil.”
Late last year, APOPO signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Royal Government of Cambodia, to advance the shared goal of freeing Cambodia from the threat of landmines, under the authority of the CMAA. Cambodia is afflicted with mines and explosive remnants of war left behind by 30 years of conflict that ended in the 1990’s. A recent survey revealed that 1,915 Km² throughout the country is still suspected of mine contamination. While the number of landmine related casualties has been drastically reduced from 4,320 in 1996 to 186 in 2012, landmine contamination continues to hinder national reconstruction and development.
Cambodia’s landmine and ERW problem is huge and too complex for the country to burden alone. International support and assistance will be required for many years to come until the country is able to cope with the problem.
Dear APOPO Supporters,
As a donor to APOPO and GlobalGiving, we want to thank you for your support and wish you a very Happy New Year and all the best wishes in 2014!
A quick program update on APOPO’s performance: the HeroRATs and their human colleagues continue to work hard everyday, clearing over 8 million square meters of land in Mozambique, destroying over 2,700 landmines, and detecting over 4,700 TB patients misdiagnosed by local hospitals in Tanzania and Mozambique.
We are going to Cambodia! In late November, APOPO signed an agreement with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia to clear landmines in Cambodia, and the HeroRATs are going to be part of this!
APOPO and the HeroRATs are proud to have recently launched myapopo.org! Under the direct supervision of the HeroRATs, the APOPO humans have been working hard to improve the donor experience to be a lot more fun! At myapopo.org, donors can adopt a baby HeroRAT that they can name themselves. Then guide its growth, development, and choose whether it detects landmines or tuberculosis patients. The many benefits of adopting include: an adoption certificate, frequent updates on your personalized myapopo wall, fun and interesting stories, nice pictures, fun avatars and badges, social media sharing, and seeing your HeroRAT's impact after graduation.
As a current or former donor through GlobalGiving, you are entitled to the benefits on www.myapopo.org. If you wish be part of the fun experience, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the year draws to a close, the APOPO HeroRATs and humans hope that you had a peaceful, healthy and happy 2013. Because of the support and generosity of our friends around the world, APOPO and the HeroRATs can look back on the past year thus far as an amazing one with significant achievements and several milestones.
2013 saw dozens of HeroRATs trained and sent to start work detecting landmines in Angola and Mozambique as well as trained to detect TB in Tanzania and Mozambique. We passed the 4,500 mark for total TB patients detected meanwhile clearing over 8 million square meters of land in Mozamique throughout the years. The GlobalGiving community is a huge part of this success as you have helped us raise almost $300,000 over the years!
So we would like to take this moment to thank you for believing in us in 2013, and for giving us something to celebrate. We look forward to sharing more life-saving adventures with you in 2014.
Best wishes to you during the upcoming holiday season!
The HeroRAT Teamherorats@apopo.orgwww.apopo.orgfacebook.com/heroRATtwitter.com/heroRATs
In this issue:
26 HeroRATs deployed to support mine clearance in Mozambique
Last week 26 Mine Detection Rats (MDR’s) were deployed to Mozambique. These rats will go through a period of acclimatization and training in order to pass an official external accreditation test according to International Mine Action Standards (IMAS). Once passed the rats and their trainers will be officially licensed for operational work and can begin to work with their HeroRAT comrades in the minefields. So far, a total of 2,546 landmines have been found and neutralized, and a total of 7,850,234m2 of land returned to the population, safe to be used for agriculture and grazing.
TB testing for HIV sufferers
The 19th International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease Conference was held in Kigali, Rwanda on the 20 - 22 of June, 2013. Dr. Negussie Beyene, APOPO’s Program Manager for the TB program made an oral presentation about rat TB detection and working with local NGO’s to track down TB sufferers diagnosed by the rats after having being missed by the microscopy labs.
In order to track these patients APOPO partners with one Tanzanian NGO MKUTA, composed of former TB patients and has managed to establish yet another partnership with PASADA who target HIV sufferers for TB testing by the rats.
Germany continues to support APOPO in Thailand
His Excellency Ambassador Rolf Schulze and APOPO Program Manager for Thailand Kim Warren, recently signed an agreement granting 281,550 EURO from Germany to support APOPO’s efforts to improve security in mine affected communities in Thailand.
"German foreign policy traditionally attaches great importance to humanitarian demining worldwide”, said the ambassador. " I am happy to continue our successful cooperation with APOPO and its partners, the Thai Mine Action Committee and Peace Roads Organization. It is a modest contribution to making people's lives safer and return land to the use of local communities along the border."
Germany, has been supporting APOPO in Thailand since 2012 along with Liechtenstein, Germany and Stichting Doen.
Swimming for the HeroRATs: Ironman Ethan
On Sunday 18th August, long-term APOPO and HeroRAT supporter Ethan Herschenfeld competed in the Mont Tremblant Ironman contest in Canada for which he’s been training like mad, closely watched by APOPO. Here’s his story: “The day began at 5 a.m. with the walk from my hotel to the start line where it turned out I was the only athlete of around 3,000 competitors not wearing a wetsuit. I’m accustomed to outdoor swimming from my dips in the Hudson with New York City swim (NYC Swim). That, along with the word ‘APOPO’ which I’d scrawled all over my body, got a lot of attention before I even jumped into the water and the voice of Mike Reilly, the official ‘Voice of the Ironman’ screamed out over the loudspeaker: "Hey! There's one guy without a wetsuit!! What does it say on his chest? APOPO?"... Read more about Ironman Ethan's Big Day here.
TB lab in Mozambique inaugurated
The first APOPO TB research lab was established in Morogoro, Tanzania in 2005, and since 2008, the HeroRATs have delivered very promising results, with a reported increase of 43% in the tuberculosis detection rates in the samples evaluated. There are now a total of 17 collaborating clinics in Dar es Salaam, 182,742 sputum samples screened since 2007, and 3,862 additional TB patients identified by rats.
With the aim of replicating the results obtained in Tanzania, APOPO opened its operations in the Republic of Mozambique earlier this year, thus contributing to the Ministry of Health efforts to control tuberculosis in the country. A laboratory opening was held on June 28th, 2013 and APOPO will now evaluate the samples coming from patients with suspected tuberculosis. The host was University Eduardo Mondlane, with the University’s Chancellor presiding over the ceremony.
Training HeroRATs; Training staff
In Mozambique, APOPO recently carried out a manual deminer training session for 26 trainees. In order to support local employment, candidates of trainings are recruited from communities where APOPO is working. All candidates scored well enough to be hired by APOPO.
Read more about our mine action activities.
The first APOPO TB research laboratory was established in Morogoro, Tanzania in 2005. Since 2008, the HeroRATs have delivered promising results, with a reported increase of 43% in the tuberculosis detection rates in the samples evaluated. There are now a total of 17 collaborating clinics in Dar es Salaam, 178,425 sputum samples screened since 2007, and 3,788 TB positives identified by rats after being missed by microscopy.
With the aim of replicating the results obtained in Tanzania, APOPO opened its operations in the Republic of Mozambique earlier this year, thus contributing to the Ministry of Health efforts to control tuberculosis in the country. To conduct the research, a laboratory was built at Eduardo Mondlane University’s Veterinary School grounds and opened on June 28th, 2013. APOPO rats will evaluate the samples coming from patients with suspected tuberculosis, and any positives will be confirmed using fluorescence microscopy techniques. So far, there are 8 participating units in Maputo, and a total of 7,210 sputum samples screened since January.
In regards to APOPO mine action, last week 26 Mine Detection Rats (MDR’s) were deployed to Mozambique. These rats will go through a period of acclimatization and training in order to pass an official external accreditation test according to International Mine Action Standards (IMAS). Once accredited, the rats and their trainers will be officially licensed for operational work and can begin to work with their HeroRAT colleagues in the minefields. So far, a total of 2,406 landmines have been found and neutralized. A total of 6,423,361m2 of land has been returned to the population, safe to be used for agriculture and grazing.
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Tanzania, United Republic of
Tanzania, United Republic of