And the African Union Commission excellence award goes to…

Marc Vreysen and Udo Feldmann from the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture recently received recognition by the African Union - InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) for their unwavering commitment and outstanding contributions to the control of the tsetse flies in Africa using the sterile insect technique (SIT).

Vreysen, Head of the Insect Pest Control Laboratory in Seibersdorf, and Feldmann, retired entomologist from the Joint FAO/IAEA Division, received the International Scientific Council for Trypanosomiasis Research and Control (ISCTRC) award of excellence, for their innovation and leadership in the work to eradicate tsetse flies. Tsetse flies can cause the ‘sleeping sickness’ disease in humans and wasting diseases in cattle, otherwise known as trypanosomiasis.

“It’s an honor to receive this award for the application of this technology that has a real impact on people’s lives,” said Marc Vreysen. “This award is not just a recognition for Udo and me as individuals. It’s as much a recognition for the hard work of the Insect Pest Control Laboratory staff, the team work of the Insect Pest Control sub-programme, and the effective leadership of the Joint FAO/IAEA Division.”

Vreysen, who has been spearheading the SIT application efforts to eradicate tsetse flies from the Niayes region of Senegal, lived and worked for 12 years in sub-Saharan Africa, where he was an advisor on SIT programmes to fight tsetse flies, including the successful tsetse eradication programme on Zanzibar Island, Tanzania.

Udo Feldmann, who spent four years in East and West Africa, is recognized for advancing the use of SIT for the eradication of tsetse flies in Zanzibar and other parts of the continent. Thanks to an area- And the African Union Commission excellence award goes to… 11 December 2019 a tsetse fly-free zone in 1997, and the Niayes region of Senegal saw its tsetse population completely suppressed in 2018.

Vreysen and Feldmann were announced as recipients of the award during the 35th ISCTRC General Conference held jointly with the 18th Pan African Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis Eradication Campaign Coordinators Meeting, in Abuja, Nigeria, from 23 to 27 September 2019. The award was presented on behalf of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and the 37 sub-Saharan countries currently affected by tsetse flies.

Awards of excellence were also granted to international experts for their contributions in disease diagnostics, advocacy, research and their contributions to the ISCTRC.