Human African trypanosomiasis


A strong collaboration

© Maciej Dakowicz

WHO runs its control and surveillance programme in close collaboration with a number of international organizations, research institutions, development agencies, NGOs and private firms.

WHO network for HAT elimination

In March 2014, the World Health Organization convened a meeting of the main stakeholders working to fight gambiense human African trypanosomiasis (g-HAT) to analyse the current situation, the challenges to elimination and the needs for research, in order to reinforce the commitment to elimination and strengthen the mechanisms of collaboration through a structured network of stakeholders.

The meeting decided to launch a network for g-HAT elimination. This network is constituted by three groups (Scientific and Technical Consultative Group, Country Coordination Meeting and Implementation Coordination Group) which will provide effective support for driving and coordinating activities in the elimination process.

Given the complexity and specificity of the topics to be treated by the Implementation Coordination Group, it has been divided into several specific thematic subgroups: (a) Development of New Tools, (b) Integration of New Tools into National and Global Policies, (c) Operational Research, (d) Ad-hoc Country Coordination and (e) Advocacy and financial resources mobilization.

Programme Against African Trypanosomiasis (PAAT)

To ensure that sleeping sickness control be taken in its broader context of rural development, WHO has established a comprehensive programme known as the 'Programme Against African Trypanosomiasis' (PAAT).

This programme is run in conjunction with other specialized United Nations agencies.

PAAT enables WHO to look at the impact of the disease on overall rural development, including cattle production, farming and the economic and social welfare of the population.

Pan African Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis Eradication Campaign (PATTEC)

WHO has established another close partnership with the Pan African Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis Eradication Campaign (PATTEC). This follows an initiative by African Heads of State and Government who embarked in 2000 on a collective tsetse eradication campaign and rid the continent of the human and animal trypanosomoses.

International Organizations further collaborate with national authorities of disease endemic countries to assist them in combating the disease through the development of appropriate policies and strategies, promoting field activities, implementing training and when required and possible provide some financial assistance.

Foundations and Research Institutions promote or perform fundamental or practical research on the disease, the parasite and the vector. They develop new drugs or tools to manage, diagnose and treat patients and work on new methods for vector control to interrupt transmission.

Bilateral agencies have also shown an interest in providing direct assistance to national governments of endemic countries to implement field activities aimed at reducing disease impact. This is usually done through the implementation of control and surveillance projects in collaboration with national structures. In the current epidemiological framework and considering the different priorities and strategies of bilateral cooperation, the majority of HAT control support programme have been stopped in the last years. Nowadays only one bilateral agency Directorate-General for Development Cooperation (DGDC) of Belgium has specific support to HAT control.

Non-governmental Organizations concerned with health and emergencies have intervened where trypanosomiasis took epidemic proportions. These organizations establish projects which provide expertise, logistics and financial support to implement control operations. Different organizations have supported HAT control in the last years (Malteser, International Medical Corps, Angotrip/Caritas, Medicus Mundi, Norwegian Peoples Aid …) but as it has happened with bilateral cooperation, the majority of NGOs gradually stopped their activities in HAT control.

Private partners are firms concerned with the welfare and development of affected population and often offer equipment, material or drugs. They contribute in kind (drugs), coupled with financial support.

Human African trypanosomiasis in the news

16 April 2016 | Geneva
Lowest caseload recorded as the world prepares to defeat sleeping sickness.
The World Health Organization targets the elimination of this commonest form of the disease as a 'public health problem' by 2020.

30 July 2015 | Geneva
Report of the first WHO stakeholders meeting on rhodesiense human African trypanosomiasis Geneva, 20–22 October 2014
Ref: ISBN 978 92 4 150865 0

01 June 2015 | Geneva
WHO network for HAT elimination
Human African trypanosomiasis: update of the methodological framework for clinical trials
Ref: ISBN 978 92 4 150883 4

19 May 2015 | Geneva
Cases of sleeping sickness drop to lowest level in 75 years

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