Human African trypanosomiasis

Control and Surveillance

© Maciej Dakowicz

WHO's ultimate objective is the elimination of human African trypanosomiasis as a public health problem and the establishment of a sustained surveillance system in all disease-endemic countries.

To achieve this, the HAT control and surveillance programme focuses on:

  • Provide wider accessibility of people at risk to diagnosis and treatment. WHO assists 'National Sleeping Sickness Programmes' (NSSCPs) to implement control activities and capacity building through in-service training and thematic workshops at national, regional and international level. Reagents and equipment for screening and diagnosis and drugs for treatment are also provided.
  • Strengthened control and surveillance. This is achieved through both, mobile teams who travel through endemic areas to carry out active case-finding surveys and by the maintenance of network for passive surveillance. Good reporting is imperative to allow a follow-up of the epidemiological evolution of the disease at continental level.
  • Guidelines and policies. These are jointly elaborated with health services of endemic countries and delivered to national implementing bodies. The main objective is to harmonize control strategies and make optimal use of available tools.

"No universal methodology"

There is no universal methodology to control human African trypanosomiasis. Control and surveillance of the disease includes active and passive case finding, diagnosis, treatment, patient follow-up, vector control and control of animal reservoir.


In the 1930s, colonial administrations conscious of the huge negative impact the disease had on the development of its territories, established large programmes to combat the spread and reduce the prevalence of sleeping sickness.

WHO’s collaborating network

WHO has created strong links with various international organizations, research institutions, development agencies, NGOs and private firms.

Human African trypanosomiasis in the news

14 January 2015 | Geneva
French version of Control and surveillance of human African trypanosomiasis. Report of a WHO Expert Committee (TRS N°984)

06 January 2015 | Geneva
First WHO stakeholders meeting on gambiense human African trypanosomiasis elimination, Geneva, 25–27 March 2014

22 October 2014 | Geneva
First WHO stakeholders meeting on rhodesiense human African trypanosomiasis elimination

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