Matthew Rycroft meets hero rats and sniffer dogs in Tanzania

Matthew Rycroft and Hero Rat
Matthew Rycroft with one of the Hero Rats. Photo: Twitter/MatthewRycroft1

Yesterday, Department for International Development (DFID) Permanent Secretary Matthew Rycroft, who is in East Africa ahead of the UKaid and Human Development Innovation Fund (HDIF) Innovation Week, met Hero RATs at Apopo’s TB Detection Rats Laboratory.

With funding from UKaid, the rats are trained to detect tuberculosis with their extraordinary sense of smell, and have a higher success rate than laboratory technicians. This means TB can be diagnosed more quickly and effectively and detection rates have already improved by 40%.

Earlier in the day, after arriving in Tanzania, Mr Rycroft went to see police sniffer dogs which are being trained, with support from the UK Border Force, to sniff out illegal drugs and ivory smuggled through the airport. Through the initiative, British support is helping Tanzania stamp out organised crime and corruption.

Innovation Week, which runs from Monday 21 May to Saturday 26 May, is a collaborative and creative showcase of cool and exciting projects that improve the lives of Tanzanians. In 2017, HDIF collaborated with 16 partners to curate a series of interactive events for over 1,000 people in Dar es Salaam.

This year they have over 24 partners who are organizing events that are exploring innovation in research, development, entrepreneurship, technology and design across three sectors: health, education, and water/sanitation/hygiene.

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