Chad eliminates sleeping sickness


  • Chad has become the first country in 2024 and the 51st globally to eliminate a neglected tropical disease (NTD) — the gambiense form of human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), also known as sleeping sickness.

    • Togo first in Africa to end sleeping sickness.

Chad eliminates sleeping sickness
Pic Credit: World Atlas

About human African trypanosomiasis (HAT)

  • HAT is caused by protozoan parasites that spread via infected tsetse flies.
  • The illness is typically fatal if left untreated, according to the WHO.
  • For centuries, sleeping sickness has devastated communities across sub-Saharan Africa.
  • If not treated, the disease progresses slowly, causing fatigue, headaches and, in severe cases, coma.
  • There are two forms of HAT, determined by the subspecies of the parasite involved: Trypanosoma brucei gambiense, which accounts for 92 per cent of reported cases and Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense, responsible for the remaining 8 per cent.
  • Prior to 2002, Chad faced a significant burden of sleeping sickness, particularly in the Mandoul region.
  • However, a dedicated national effort, in collaboration with WHO and other partners, launched a multi-pronged attack on the disease.
  • The strategy focused on two key areas:
    • Early diagnosis and treatment
    • Tsetse fly control

Back to Basics

  • To date, WHO has validated the elimination of the gambiense form of HAT in seven countries: Togo (2020), Benin (2021), Ivory Coast (2021), Uganda (2022), Equatorial Guinea (2022), Ghana (2023) and Chad (2024). Additionally, the rhodesiense form of the disease has been eliminated as a public health problem in Rwanda.

Source: DTE

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