APOPO’s Pioneering HeroRATs Expand to a Total of 57 Clinics and Hospitals supported by Tanzania’s Health Authorities
MOROGORO, Tanzania — APOPO is proud to announce its Tuberculosis Detection Rats program is expanding from the current 29 partner clinics in Tanzania to a total of 57. The expansion exhibits confidence in the program by Tanzanian health officials.
Clearing four-decades old landmines will protect endangered elephants, lions and local communities
Harare, Zimbabwe — APOPO, the charity famed for its use of specially trained rats in landmine and tuberculosis detection, is proud to announce it will begin clearing landmines in Zimbabwe’s largest wildlife conservation area and important elephant migration area, coinciding with new beginnings in the country.
MOROGORO, Tanzania — The charity famed for its use of specially trained rats in landmine and tuberculosis detection celebrates its 20th anniversary this week.
Harnessing the highly attuned sense of smell in the African giant pouched rat, the international organization APOPO has spent the last two decades training these affectionate rodents in detecting two of the deadliest threats on the planet: landmines and tuberculosis. Each gives off its own unique smell, undetectable to humans, something which the rats are able to quickly sniff out.
On September 29th, the Government of Flanders pledged 1.1 million euros to APOPO in Mozambique for its TB-detection program using scent detection rats.
For the first time since the end of the civil war, the Cambodian Mine Action Authority (CMAA) recorded no casualties in Cambodia for a whole month. The first half of this year has also shown a drop in 40% of deaths and injuries from old landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) compared to the same period last year.
The Republic of Angola is heavily contaminated with landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) as a result of a 27-year civil war that ended in 2002. Since 2013, APOPO has been working under the umbrella of its partner Norwegian People's Aid (NPA), one of the leading humanitarian mine clearance operators in Angola.
Last February eight fully trained HeroRATs from the APOPO training center in Morogoro, Tanzania arrived in their new home in Siem Reap, Cambodia. APOPO's Mine Detection Rat Field Coordinator Mark Shukuru travelled with them and is happy to announce that after a short period of acclimatization and getting to know their new Cambodia handlers, the new mine detection rats have all passed their assessment tests and are ready for the real minefields.
APOPO is proud to announce that it has opened a landmine detection program in Colombia. APOPO has recently registered as an NGO in the country and has asked the Colombian government to consider the use of APOPO's innovative landmine detection rats as effective detectors of minimal-metal landmines.
APOPO, the NGO that trains African giant pouched rats to detect tuberculosis in patients missed by local clinics in Tanzania and Mozambique, is proud to announce the opening of its new TB-detection program in Ethiopia, funded by the Skoll Foundation.
APOPO will work alongside the Armauer Hansen Research Institute (AHRI) an autonomous federal government organ, and the Addis Ababa Regional Health Bureau to identify more TB-Positive patients in Addis Ababa.
For the last few months APOPO has been providing capacity building and technical assistance to Campaña Colombiana Contra Minas (CCCM) – the Colombian campaign to ban landmines. Yesterday, the two CCCM non-technical survey teams that APOPO trained reached a first milestone – they were accredited by the Colombian Mine Action Authority and will begin operations at the end of the month.
On February 10th the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria officially announced that the country was mine-free! Algeria is the largest country in Africa and its history is marked with more periods of violence than peace. The combination of World War II, the Algerian War of Independence and religious fighting in the 90s led to Algeria's landmine problem.
On Wednesday the 23rd of November, APOPO celebrated the opening of its new HeroRAT TB Detection Facility in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Partners, donors and clinic staff alike attended the celebration with words from The Honourable Ummy Mwalimu (MP) - Minister of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children (Represented by Dr Mohamed A. Mohamed – Director of Health Quality Assurance, Ministry of Health).
The HeroRATs in Cambodia have helped our partner CMAC complete clearance of a second minefield since they were deployed at the beginning of the year.
Over the last thirty days, 6 landmines and 3 unexploded mortar bombs were found. Eight families, totaling around 40 people, have lived next door to the landmines for the last 25 years and have been forced to sometime farm on unsafe land in order to feed themselves. They are already getting on with the serious business of growing rice crops on the newly safe land.
In May 2016, APOPO reached a landmark of identifying 10,000 TB positive patients who were initially missed by their local clinics and sent home.
Last year, a team of eager HeroRATs arrived in Cambodia to support the Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) demining teams and speed up demining operations in the country.. It was the first time the rats have been outside of Africa. After a period of acclimatization and continued training, the rat teams were rigorously tested according to the International Mine Action Standards (IMAS), and in early 2016 the HeroRATs were deployed on the minefield
The Giant Pouched Rat has become famous for its size and remarkable ability to save lives by sniffing out landmines and tuberculosis. The animal is found throughout sub-Saharan Africa with four main species identified - Cricetomys gambianus, Cricetomys emini, Cricetomys ansorgei, and Cricetomys kivuensis.
What species are the HeroRATs?
APOPO and the Ministry of Defense of the Government of Zimbabwe have officially signed a historic agreement to allow APOPO to begin clearing landmines in the country.
Zimbabwe’s landmines were laid during the Liberation War of Independence (also known as The Second Chimurenga (Revolutionary War) of the 1970’s) by the army of Rhodesia (as Zimbabwe was then known). The Rhodesian military created lethal barriers along the border to Mozambique to keep liberation forces at bay.
Traditionally April and May are when the rains are heaviest in Tanzania, but this year the rains were intensified by tropical cyclone Fantala in the Indian Ocean that triggered heavy rainfall and flooding throughout East Africa.
When it rains so much the test minefield where APOPO's Mine Detection Rats train, gets very wet and muddy with some areas completely waterlogged. This can delay or even postpone a day's training as it takes a couple of hours for it to dry up sufficiently for the rats to be able to get back to work.
Earlier this year, APOPO in partnership with the Tanzanian Veterinary Laboratory Agency (TVLA) set plans in motion to begin building APOPO’s new TB center in Dar es salaam with a top-notch lab, brand new rat facilities and TB detection rooms. Construction is progressing well and on-schedule for operations to start by July 2016.
APOPO along with partner Norwegian People's Aid (NPA) is working in sites across Angola to help communities back on their way to sustained economic development by giving back safe land for agriculture and development. Clementina is one of the NPA deminers committing herself every day to remove the deadly threat of landmines.