Imperial College London

Dr Carlos A Torres Vitolas

Faculty of MedicineSchool of Public Health

Honorary Research Fellow



+44 (0)20 7594 6689c.torres-vitolas Website




VB11Norfolk PlaceSt Mary's Campus





Publication Type

9 results found

Torres-Vitolas CA, Dhanani N, Fleming FM, 2021, Factors affecting the uptake of preventive chemotherapy treatment for schistosomiasis in Sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review, PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, Vol: 15, ISSN: 1935-2727

BACKGROUND: Schistosomiasis affects nearly 220 million people worldwide, mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Preventive chemotherapy (PC) treatment, through regular mass-drug administration (MDA) of Praziquantel tablets remains the control measure of choice by Ministries of Health. Current guidelines recommend that 75% of school-aged children receive treatment. Many programmes, however, struggle to achieve this target. Given the risk of high reinfection rates, attaining sustained high levels of treatment coverage is essential. This study provides a comprehensive review of the barriers and facilitators operating at different levels of analysis, from the individual to the policy level, conditioning the uptake of PC for schistosomiasis in SSA. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A systematic literature search was conducted in several databases for publications released between January 2002 and 2019 that examined factors conditioning the uptake of Praziquantel in the context of MDA campaigns in SSA. A total of 2,258 unique abstracts were identified, of which 65 were selected for full text review and 30 met all eligibility criteria. Joanna Briggs Institute's Critical Appraisal and the Mixed-Methods Assessment tools were used to assess the strength of the evidence. This review was registered with PROSPERO (CRD42017058525). A meta-synthesis approach was used. Results indicated publication bias, with the literature focusing on East African rural settings and evidence at the individual and programmatic levels. The main influencing factors identified included material wellbeing, drug properties, knowledge and attitudes towards schistosomiasis and MDAs, fears of side effects, gender values, community and health systems support, alongside programme design features, like training, sensitisation, and provision of incentives for drug-distributors. The effect of these factors on determining Praziquantel uptake were explored in detail. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Multiple determinants of

Journal article

Torres-Vitolas CA, Harvey CA, Cruz-Garcia GS, Vanegas-Cubillos M, Schreckenberg Ket al., 2019, The socio-ecological dynamics of food insecurity among subsistence-oriented indigenous communities in Amazonia: a qualitative examination of coping strategies among riverine communities along the Caquetá River, Colombia, Human Ecology, Vol: 47, Pages: 355-368, ISSN: 0300-7839

Despite the Amazon’s natural wealth, food insecurity is a major concern among indigenous communities. Yet, little is known about the socio-ecological dynamics shaping the contributions of local ecosystems to food security. In this study we examine how ecological features interact with normative structures, lifestyles, and livelihoods to expose indigenous peoples to food shortages and how they attempt to cope with worsening food insecurity conditions through participatory exercises with ten indigenous communities along the Caquetá River, Colombia. Our results indicate that traditional food systems are sensitive to human and natural capital disruptions. However, severe food insecurity is prevented by the combination of a well-preserved environment and traditional social institutions, which facilitates widespread access to wild foods, farmland, environmental knowledge, supportive relations, and labour. Nevertheless, traditional adaptations appear insufficient when food insecurity results from health shocks. Our findings highlight the need for interventions that pursue conservation objectives whilst promoting social structures supporting resilience.

Journal article

Cruz-Garcia GS, Vanegas Cubillos M, Torres-Vitolas C, Harvey CA, Shackleton CM, Schreckenberg K, Willcock S, Navarrete-Frias C, Sachet Eet al., 2019, He says, she says: ecosystem services and gender among indigenous communities in the Colombian Amazon, Ecosystem Services, Vol: 37, ISSN: 2212-0416

Although it has been hypothesized that men and women vary in the way they value ecosystem services, research on ecosystem services rarely incorporates a gender dimension. We conducted research with nine indigenous communities in the Colombian Amazon to understand which ecosystem services men and women perceive as most important for their wellbeing and to rank them according to locally-defined criteria of importance. Participants identified a total of 26 ecosystem services and 20 different ranking criteria. Ecosystem services such as land for agricultural fields (a supporting service), and provision of fish and medicinal plants were equally important for both men and women. Wild fruits and resources to make handicrafts were more frequently mentioned by women, whereas timber, materials for making tools and coca leaves were more frequently mentioned by men. There were also differences in the criteria used to value ecosystem services, with 11 criteria mentioned by both men and women, five mentioned exclusively by women and another four only by men. Our results suggest that taking gender differences into account in ecosystem services assessments may result in the prioritization of different services in conservation and sustainable development programs, and may lead to different outcomes for ecosystem service provision and local livelihoods.

Journal article

Francesconi W, Bax V, Blundo-Canto G, Willcok S, Cuadros S, Vanegas M, Quintero M, Torres-Vitolas CAet al., 2018, Hunters and hunting across indigenous and colonist communities at the forest-agriculture interface: an ethnozoological study from the Peruvian Amazon, JOURNAL OF ETHNOBIOLOGY AND ETHNOMEDICINE, Vol: 14, ISSN: 1746-4269

BackgroundWildlife has been traditionally used by forest communities as a source of protein, and the Peruvian Amazon is no exception. The articulation of colonist and indigenous communities to urban centers and markets results in changes in livelihood strategies and impacts on wildlife populations. To address the threat of overhunting and forest conversion, we provide a generalized characterization of colonist and indigenous communities and their hunting activities near Pucallpa, Ucayali, Peru.MethodsA semi-structured household survey was conducted to characterize hunters and describe their prey collections. The data were analyzed by conducting a Kruskal-Wallis test, a multiple regression analysis, and by estimating the harvest rate (H).ResultsLess wealthy households were more actively engaged in hunting for food security and as a livelihood strategy. Additionally, older hunters were associated with higher hunting rates. Although the percentage of hunters was relatively low, estimated hunting rates suggest overharvesting of wildlife. Lowland pacas (Cuniculus paca) were the most frequently hunted prey, followed by red brocket deer (Mazama americana) and primates. While hunting intensity was not significantly different between indigenous and colonist communities, hunting rate disparities suggest there are different types of hunters (specialized vs. opportunistic) and that prey composition differs between communities.ConclusionClose monitoring of wildlife populations and hunting activities is ideal for more accurately determining the impact of hunting on wildlife population and in turn on forest health. In lack of this type of information, this study provides insight of hunting as a shifting livelihood strategy in a rapidly changing environment at the forest/agriculture frontier.

Journal article

Torres Vitolas C, 2018, Effects of social capital building on social network formation among the rural poor: a case-study from Peru, Oxford Development Studies, Vol: 46, Pages: 184-198, ISSN: 1469-9966

Although building social capital through participatory interventions is widely recommended in the development literature, limited attention has been paid to the process of social network expansion taking place in such contexts. This article empirically examines Putnam- and Bourdieu-based approaches to examine actors’ investments in social relations. Beneficiaries of a full-participatory intervention were followed over a four-year period using mixed-methods data. Results showed that, despite the existence of substantive social cohesion and promising levels of trust, actors’ capacity to benefit from project-sponsored bonding, bridging and linking social capital activities were affected by their capital endowments, lifestyles and (non)material interests. Over time, social capital building efforts appeared to have mostly favoured the emergence of village-level network structures unfavourable to the poorest, female, and non-politically active residents. The theoretical and practical implications of the findings are also discussed.

Journal article

Schreckenberg K, Torres Vitolas C, Willcock S, Shackleton C, Harvey C, Kafumbata Det al., 2016, Participatory Data Collection for Ecosystem Services Research A Practitioner’s Manual, Participatory Data Collection for Ecosystem Services Research A Practitioner’s Manual, Edinburgh, Publisher: Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA), No: 003 / June 2016


Ramirez-Gomez SOI, Torres-Vitolas CA, Schreckenberg K, Honzák M, Cruz-Garcia GS, Willcock S, Palacios E, Pérez-Miñana E, Verweij PA, Poppy GMet al., 2015, Analysis of ecosystem services provision in the Colombian Amazon using participatory research and mapping techniques, Ecosystem Services, Vol: 13, Pages: 93-107, ISSN: 2212-0416

Over the last two decades indigenous peoples in the lower Caquetá River basin in Colombia have experienced detrimental changes in the provision of important ecosystem services in ways that have significant implications for the maintenance of their traditional livelihoods. To assess these changes we conducted eight participatory mapping activities and convened 22 focus group discussions. We focused the analysis on two types of change: (1) changes in the location of ecosystem services provisioning areas and (2) changes in the stock of ecosystem services. The focal ecosystem services include services such as provision of food, raw materials and medicinal resources. Results from the study show that in the past two decades the demand for food and raw materials has intensified and, as a result, locations of provisioning areas and the stocks of ecosystem services have changed. We found anecdotal evidence that these changes correlate well with socio-economic factors such as greater need for income generation, change in livelihood practices and consumption patterns. We discuss the use of participatory mapping techniques in the context of marginalized and data-poor regions. We also show how this kind of information can strengthen existing ecosystem-based management strategies used by indigenous peoples in the Colombian Amazon.

Journal article

Bacchus LJ, Bewley S, Vitolas CT, Aston G, Jordan P, Murray SFet al., 2010, Evaluation of a domestic violence intervention in the maternity and sexual health services of a UK hospital, REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH MATTERS, Vol: 18, Pages: 147-157, ISSN: 0968-8080

Journal article

Torres-Vitolas C, Bacchus LJ, Aston G, 2010, A comparison of the training needs of maternity and sexual health professionals in a London teaching hospital with regards to routine enquiry for domestic abuse, PUBLIC HEALTH, Vol: 124, Pages: 472-478, ISSN: 0033-3506

Journal article

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