Chad Joins Other Countries In Eliminating Sleeping Sickness, Says WHO

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The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has congratulated Chad for becoming the first country in 2024 to be recognized for eliminating a neglected tropical disease and also becoming the 51st country globally to achieve this milestone.

This milestone, according to WHO marks the halfway point towards the global goal of 100 countries by 2030, one of the four major global targets set by the 2021-2030 Roadmap for Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Ghebreyesus said: “I congratulate the government and the people of Chad for this achievement.

“It is great to see Chad join the growing group of countries that have eliminated at least one NTD. The 100-country target is nearer and within reach.”

The health organization said
sleeping sickness can cause flu-like symptoms initially but eventually cause behavioural change, confusion, sleep cycle disturbances, or even coma, often leading to death.

It added that improved access to early diagnosis and treatment, as well as surveillance and response has proven that countries can control and eventually eliminate transmission.

So far, seven countries have been validated by WHO for eliminating the gambiense form of human African trypanosomiasis and the countries include Togo (2020), Benin (2021), Côte d’Ivoire (2021), Uganda (2022), Equatorial Guinea (2022), Ghana (2023), and Chad (2024).

The rhodesiense form of the disease has been eliminated as a public health problem in one country, Rwanda, as validated by WHO in 2022.

“The elimination of the gambiense form of human African trypanosomiasis in Chad reflects our commitment to improving the health of our people.

“This achievement results from years of dedicated efforts by our health workers, communities, and partners.

“We will continue this momentum to tackle other neglected tropical diseases and ensure a healthier future for all Chadians,” said Hon. Dr Abdel Modjid Abderahim Mahamat, Minister of Health, Chad.

As of June 2024, across the WHO African region, 20 countries have eliminated at least one neglected tropical disease, with Togo having eliminated 4 diseases and Benin and Ghana having eliminated 3 diseases each.