What does TOZARD mean?
TRYPANOSOMOSIS ONCHOCERCIASIS ZOONOSES ASSOCIATION FOR RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT (TOZARD) is an apolitical, gender sensitive, purpose-driven, non-religious, non-governmental and non-profit making organisation based in Bambili -about ten Kilo meters from Bamenda in Cameroon. Our passion for using available science knowledge to empower and help people suffering from and/or exposed to the risk of the targeted diseases: Trypanosomosis, Onchocerciasis and Zoonoses, and who live mainly in rural areas, remains our key strength that we exploit. For this purpose operate a biological science research laboratory which is used to generate innovative solutions which when co opted with existing knowledge on these diseases is used in our reach-out programs in the targeted communities.
Rationale of TOZARD
There are many villages in Cameroon, and in many other African countries, that have never seen a vehicle drive into their village for deliveries or transport people. They are remote and harbor the vectors of many diseases including Zoonoses. Humans and many animal species share the same bed rooms and food dishes. Fatal accidents frequently occur following conflict in the occupation of space between man and some of the dangerous animal species. Movement of goods and people is then done on foot involving days of trekking long distances and crossing many rivers which are yet to have a safe bridge since independence. Illiteracy is high, portable water is a luxury, electricity and communication gadgets are absent. In the mounting poor hygienic conditions the vectors of disease abound and the burden of parasitic infections is very high.Sick people die before they reach the nearest rudimentary health care unit. In such villages nutrition is sub optimal and life expectancy is usually less than fifty.
Government staff sent to such communities to work in schools, health care units etc never stay to work and when they do stay it will be for very short periods. One TOZARD member visited a school in a village near the Nigerian border and found that the lone teacher, in the class one to four school, had closed down the school for the year in the second week of April and left for his far off city in another region.
The global objective of TOZARD is to enable particularly rural communities to reap the benefits of biomedical science education and research. TOZARD seeks to support intelligent young biological science students from weak socio-economic or resource-poor backgrounds, especially in developing third world countries, to acquire high levels of education by laying bridges for them to cross. TOZARD has a cream of well-trained, experience and highly motivated scientists with a passion for controlling TOZ diseases and who seek to build an interdisciplinary research community through fostering international partnerships for collaborative and outward-facing research programmes. TOZARD also seeks to enhance the inherent capacity of the rural communities by training people, providing opportunities for hands-on skill development and thus nurturing community leadership in adopting innovative TOZ diseases control strategies. In TOZARD People are wealth and need to be empowered; knowledge and technology are tools for change and the destiny of communities is in their hands. Scientific knowledge generated at TOZARD is not based on the opinions, feelings, or intuition of the scientist, but on the accumulation of empirical evidence. TOZARD seeks to establish a platform for sustainable community transformation: taking state-of-the art knowledge on the fight against TOZ diseases using effective knowledge dissemination systems. At the moment TOZARD puts emphasis on undertaking research and dissemination of innovative control strategies on Trypanosomosis, Onchocerciasis and Zoonoses. The members of TOZARD as at now have a lot of expertise in the diseases indicated. In the future there could be an expansion to include other diseases if we have new specialized staff in those other diseases.