APOPO is a global charity that developed an innovative method using African giant pouched rats, nicknamed HeroRATs, to detect landmines and tuberculosis using their extraordinary sense of smell.
Support from players of People's Postcode Lottery directly helps those across the world living in fear of landmines, and enables more people with tuberculosis to receive life-saving treatment.
Landmines not only cause tragic accidents but are a constant source of fear and anxiety for afflicted communities. They are also a barrier to development constraining communities and denying access to fertile land, travel routes and basic needs. The APOPO HeroRATs are too light to set off the landmines and are very quick at finding them, making them a perfect 'tool' for detection, lowering overall costs and significantly speeding up clearance efforts simultaneously.
Tuberculosis (TB) remains the world's deadliest infectious killer. Each day, nearly 4,500 people lose their lives to TB and close to 30,000 people fall ill with this preventable and curable disease. Since 2007, HeroRATs have also helped increase TB case detection by over 40% through screening thousands of samples from over 140 public clinics in Tanzania, Mozambique and Ethiopia. This year APOPO reached the landmark of having re-tested over 250,000 patients with signs and symptoms of TB across sites since the research programme began.
APOPO has received over £2.8 Million in support from our players which has enabled the charity to fully train 44 landmine detecting HeroRATs in Tanzania and send them to operations in Cambodia. They will help boost the daily square meter coverage and clearance, which allows APOPO to help get local communities back on their land as quickly as possible. This year APOPO reached the milestone of having freed over one million people from the threat of landmines and other explosive remnants of war.
Bahati Juma, Landmine Detection Rat Trainer at APOPO, said, "My family is proud that I am helping communities in countries like Angola and Cambodia. Working at APOPO has given me a better perspective on how I can shape my life going forward. But the best part of my job is hearing how the rats I train are helping give land back to families like mine, completely free of landmines. How their children can play safely like mine do and people can once again farm their land without fear of losing a leg or blowing up."
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