Obama's grandmother to help fight tsetse fly

09:05, 10 March 2009
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Sarah Obama, 87...

U.S. President Barack Obama`s step-grandmother will use her newfound celebrity status to help eradicate the tsetse fly, an insect that causes sleeping sickness, the African Union (AU) said on Monday, according to Reuters.

Sarah Obama, 87, was given a spray pump and enough insecticide to treat 3,000 animals -- which like humans can be infected by the insect -- by an AU team that visited her village of Kogelo in western Kenyan last month.

"Mama Sarah very much appreciated the gift and ... vowed in her local language that she will be the goodwill ambassador in her area to eradicate tsetse flies," the AU said.

Obama`s grandmother recalled a 1968 outbreak of sleeping sickness in her village, it added in a statement.

Some 37 African countries are affected by tsetse and sleeping sickness or trypanosomiasis.

An AU programme against the disease has succeeded in wiping out the flies in Botswana and Namibia, the statement said.

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