Doctor outside the medical center of Bopa Benin West Africa. Photo Credit: E. Chincarula

Health Benin3. June 2022

Dream Come True: Sleeping Sickness Is Over!

Through action and determination, Benin, Uganda, and Rwanda have managed to eliminate sleeping sickness as a public health problem in their respective territories, giving hope to other countries in West, Central, and East Africa.

In 2001, WHO reinforced surveillance and control of the life-threatening disease carried by the tsetse fly, and in 2018, the number of sleeping sickness – or Human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) – cases was fewer than 1,000 in all endemic countries.

In 2020, Togo and Côte d’Ivoire were the first two African countries to have WHO’s validation that they eliminated the gambiense form – the other one is the rhodesiense form – as a public health problem. Since then, Benin and Rwanda got the validation in 2021 and 2022 respectively for the gambiense form. In the case of Uganda, the only country where both forms are endemic, it eliminated the gambiense form and the country is determined to soon eliminate the rhodesiense form. The ultimate goal is to eliminate the transmission of gambiense HAT by 2030.

World Health Organization

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