ZELS Economics of brucellosis control in periurban dairy farming systems in West Africa

RVC Supervisor(s): Jonathan Rushton (jrushton), Javier Guitian (jguitian)

Supervisors:   Prof. Jonathan Rushton, Prof. Javier Guitian, Prof. Philippe Kone (EISMV, Dakar).

Department: Production and Population Health

Periurban dairy farming is an expanding livestock system in West Africa where it contributes to food security and dietary diversity by supplying milk and dairy products to rapidly growing urban populations. Available evidence suggests that the impact of brucellosis in this system is among the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa. This project will address the socioeconomic and regulatory constraints to brucellosis control, enabling the implementation of a new generation of sustainable, mid-to-long term, prevalence reduction programs for brucellosis in this expanding production system. This PhD studentship is linked to a project funded by the ZELS initiative and it will align with others in the ZELS Associated Studentships (ZELS-AS) programme through common interests in developing interdisciplinary approaches to tackle zoonotic diseases. The PhD project will be closely related to parallel activities to be carried out under the umbrella of the ZELS project and is expected to combine qualitative and quantitative methods from psychological theory and economics to generate detailed understanding of socioeconomic drivers for the adoption of control strategies against brucellosis, including estimates of economic impact at farm level and a comprehensive assessment of the social, regulatory and institutional barriers for the implementation of a control strategy based on vaccination. Although brucellosis will be used as a case study, project outputs will be relevant for other infectious diseases that are endemic among periurban dairy farms in the region. The study will involve key stakeholders currently working on animal health issues in West Africa to ensure maximum policy impact. Study results will be incorporated into capacity building activities planned as part of the ZELS project within which this PhD project will take place.


  • Onono, J.; Wieland, B.; Rushton, J. (2012) Productivity in different cattle production systems in Kenya. Tropical Animal Health and Production.
  • Oseguera Montiel D, Bruce M, Frankena K, Udo H, van der Zijpp A5 Rushton J. Financial analysis of brucellosis control for small-scale goat farming in the Bajío region, Mexico. Prev Vet Med. 2015 Mar 1;118(4):247-59.
  • Taylor, N.M. and Rushton, J. (2011) A value chain approach to animal diseases risk management – Technical foundations and practical framework for field application. Animal Production and Health Guidelines. No. 4. FAO, Rome, Italy. 135 pages

This is a three and a half year fully funded studentship. This studentship and  the "ZELS Food safety interventions in periurban dairy farming systems in West Africa " studentship are open to applicants from Home/EU/LMICs and preference will be given to applicants from West Africa.  One of the advertised studentships will be awarded to a Home/EU candidate and one to a candidate form an LMIC. 

Desirable requirements

  • Postgraduate qualification in veterinary epidemiology or other relevant discipline
  • Basic communication skills in French

How to apply Applications should be made via UKPASS.  For more information on the application process and English Language requirements  see How to Apply

Details about the ZELS programme and further project titles available from ZELS DTP partner institutions can be found on the ZELS website. 

Interviews for the studentship will be held in mid to late September (via skype) and will include an interview with the project supervisors and a separate PhD panel interview.  The anticipated start date for Home/EU students is October 2015 and by November 2015 for LMIC students.

Deadline: 26/08/2015

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