HeroRATs: Sniffing Out Landmines and Tuberculosis

 
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HeroRATs: Sniffing Out Landmines and Tuberculosis

HeroRATs: Sniffing Out Landmines and Tuberculosis
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heroRAT

heroRAT
Rats are highly intelligent and social creatures, with an extremely developed sense of smell. They are adapted to the environment and love to perform repetitive search tasks in exchange for a food reward. In Tanzania, APOPO trains African giant pouched rats to save human lives in sub-Sahara Africa, by detecting landmines and Tuberculosis. They are affectionately called- HeroRATS. (view small | med | large | orig)

HeroRATs: Sniffing Out Landmines and Tuberculosis

HeroRATs: Sniffing Out Landmines and Tuberculosis
34 HeroRAT teams are currently deployed in Mozambique. They are accredited according International Mine Action Standards (IMAS), just like mine detection dogs. HeroRATS are cheaper to breed, to feed, to train, to maintain and to transport. They are lightweight, and therefore do not set off landmines by stepping on them. The use of HeroRATS speeds up humanitarian landmine clearance and reduces operational costs. (view small | med | large | orig)

HeroRATs: Sniffing Out Landmines and Tuberculosis

HeroRATs: Sniffing Out Landmines and Tuberculosis
APOPO started to train HeroRATS to detect pulmonary Tuberculosis, as a spin-off application. In Tanzania, only 47% of active TB cases are detected (2004). There is an urgent need for a fast and cheap, first line screening tool, to detect suspected TB cases early. Today, Tuberculosis kills more youth and adults than any other single infectious disease in the world today. Yearly, more then 2 million people die worldwide from Tuberculosis. The WHO prospects a 400% increase in Tuberculosis by 2015. (view small | med | large | orig)

HeroRATs: Sniffing Out Landmines and Tuberculosis

HeroRATs: Sniffing Out Landmines and Tuberculosis
HeroRats detect the smell of the TB-bacilli in sputum samples. They discriminate positive samples by keeping their nose fixed in a sniffing hole above the sample. They are rewarded with mashed banana and peanuts. At this stage, TB detection rats are in a research phase. Proof of principle has been provided, and the tool is now in optimization for operational use. (view small | med | large | orig)

HeroRATs: Sniffing Out Landmines and Tuberculosis

HeroRATs: Sniffing Out Landmines and Tuberculosis
The concept is very simple: rats sniff a series of holes, under which human sputum samples are lined up for evaluation. They pinpoint the samples which contain TB bacteria. Their correct indications are rewarded with a food treat. Without requiring sophisticated instruments, this method is non invasive and can handle a high volume of samples, all very important factors in a pro-active screening approach. (view small | med | large | orig)

HeroRATs: Sniffing Out Landmines and Tuberculosis

HeroRATs: Sniffing Out Landmines and Tuberculosis
By means of a microscope, a lab technician can process a maximum of 20 samples per day. A HeroRAT can do 40 samples or more in only 7 minutes. This approach provides new potential for rapid screening of TB suspected patients. Once validated, HeroRATS could screen vulnerable populations in slums, refugee camps, etc. Suspected TB patients can then be referred to the existing public health services for confirmation and treatment. HeroRATS already find 5-10 patients weekly that microscopy missed. (view small | med | large | orig)

HeroRATs: Sniffing Out Landmines and Tuberculosis

HeroRATs: Sniffing Out Landmines and Tuberculosis
Local communities embrace the use of HeroRATS because they save human lives. Recently, the International Conference for the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) in Africa has endorsed this technology for replication in 11 countries in the region. With HeroRATS, African countries depend less on foreign expertise for detection tasks, gain training and employment, and reclaim their land and lives back. (view small | med | large | orig)

Heroic team

Heroic team
HeroRAT trainer, Abu, offers a banana reward to a young Mine Detection Rat after a solid session sniffing out landmines! (view small | med | large | orig)

Full cheeks Friday

Full cheeks Friday
Our African giant pouched rats work-for-food during the week, but by the weekend they deserve a treat...on Friday afternoons APOPO's rats enjoy a feast fit for heroes, filling their cheek pouches to the brim! (view small | med | large | orig)

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Funded

Thanks to 4,673 donors like you, a total of $250,162 was raised for this project on GlobalGiving. Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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Organization

APOPO vzw

Morogoro, Tanzania, Tanzania, United Republic of
http://www.apopo.org

Project Leader

Paul Delbar

Public Fundraising Manager
Sokoine University, Morogoro Tanzania, United Republic of

Where is this project located?

Map of HeroRATs: Sniffing Out Landmines and Tuberculosis