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Togo Becomes First African Country to be Validated Sleeping Sickness-free
Category :- Health Author :- L J KINGAH 
Posted on August 27, 2020, 1:42 pm
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The World Health Organization has validated Togo of having eliminated human African trypanosomiasis or sleeping sickness as a public health problem. This makes the country first in Africa to achieve this objective.

According to WHO, the country’s achievement follows from it over two decades of “sustained political commitment, surveillance and screening of cases.”

sleeping sickness

 The Organization explained, “Beginning in 2000, the country’s public health officials implemented control measures. In 2011, the country established surveillance sites at hospitals in the cities of Mango and Tchamba, which cover the main areas at risk of the disease. Public health officials have since maintained heightened disease surveillance in endemic and at-risk areas.”

It was in 2018 that Togo first applied for certification of elimination of sleeping sickness when “a team of WHO experts studied the data, made recommendations and requested a revision by the country before giving their approval.” WHO added.

Speaking on the issue Togo’s Minister of Health and Public Hygiene, Hon Moustafa Mijiyawa, thank the joint efforts of health actors. “Thanks to the joint efforts of all health actors, the disease has been eliminated in Togo. Neighboring countries are not at the same phase and so surveillance must continue to avoid a resurgence of this disease.” were the minister’s words.

sleeping under nets to prevent sleeping sickness

WHO supported these efforts through “global collaboration by facilitating the donation of medicines and resources from pharmaceutical companies, which helped strengthen local capacity and ensure the sustained availability of tools required to control the disease.”

For its successful efforts in elimination the disease WHO’s Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti said Togo was a pathfinder in the elimination of this disease in Africa. “Togo is a pathfinder in eliminating sleeping sickness, a disease which has threatened millions of Africans,” he said. To this he congratulated the government and peoples’ efforts saying, “I congratulate the Government and people of Togo for showing the way. I am sure the country’s efforts will inspire others to push towards a final eradication of sleeping sickness.”

diagramatical transmission of sleeping sickness

Between the two forms of sleeping sickness one caused by Trypanosoma brucei gambiense, is found in 24 countries in west and central Africa. It “accounts for more than 98% of cases.” The other one due to Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense is in 13 countries in eastern and southern Africa, according to the health organization.

WHO says it will be working with partners that by 2030, the elimination of the gambiense becomes a public health problem and as of now Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana have started the validation.

tsetsefly

Found in 36 countries in sub-Saharan Africa sleeping sickness is caused by parasites which are transmitted by infected tsetse-flies.

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Tagged Keywords: tsetse fly, sleeping sickness, togo
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