It took WHO specialists eight years to control the spread of sleeping sickness in Africa
According to the World Health Organization, the sleeping sickness zone in Africa has decreased to 200,000 square kilometres in the past two years. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases says so.
In this case, the number of its new carriers for the first time dropped below the mark of a thousand people. This was made possible thanks to the implementation of the WHO special programme for combating sleeping sickness, which was launched in 2012.
“We are a step away from eliminating the sleeping sickness epidemic by the end of 2020. When this goal is reached, we will start preparing for the next big challenge – the complete elimination of the West African version by 2030,” the WHO said.
Through the programme, WHO and its partners have diagnosed and treated people already infected, monitored and destroyed areas inhabited by tsetse flies and told Africans about the dangers of these insects and the parasites they carry.
WHO estimates that countries such as Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Rwanda and Togo have completely eliminated sleeping sickness in their territories. More than half of the areas in which it is still present are in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
However, there are few cases of acute sleeping sickness in all African countries today, so WHO intends to redirect most of its resources to fight the milder version of the disease in West Africa in the near future. WHO plans to eliminate it completely by 2030.
As previously reported, a Tanzanian woman died of an unknown disease. WHO asked the Tanzanian Ministry of Health for more information about the incident.