Chad has achieved a historic milestone by becoming the first country in 2024 to eliminate sleeping sickness.

Key Highlights:

  • In 2024, Chad made history as the first country and the 51st globally to eradicate the sleeping sickness. 
  • This achievement, acknowledged by the World Health Organization (WHO), marks a major triumph in the global fight against neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).
  • Chad’s Journey Towards Elimination

Key Interventions

  • Early Diagnosis and Treatment: Enhanced healthcare access enabled quicker identification of cases, complemented by the introduction of more effective treatment drugs.
  • Tsetse Fly Control: Targeted programs utilizing traps and insecticides effectively reduced the tsetse fly population, crucial for breaking the disease transmission cycle.

Rigorous Verification Process

  • Chad’s diligent efforts resulted in a drastic reduction in case numbers, with no new infections reported in recent years. Following thorough assessment and verification by WHO.

Global Impact and Future Goals

  • Chad’s achievement sets an example for other countries battling NTDs and contributes to the global goal of eliminating at least 100 neglected tropical diseases by 2030. 
  • It exemplifies dedication to public health and effective international collaboration.

Validation and Global Recognition

  • WHO has validated the elimination of gambiense HAT in seven countries to date, including Chad, marking significant progress in the global fight against sleeping sickness and other NTDs.

About the Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)

  • According to WHO definition, NTDs classify as a diverse group of conditions caused by various pathogens like viruses, bacteria, parasites, and toxins. 
  • These diseases disproportionately affect impoverished communities in tropical areas. 
  • WHO estimates that over 1 billion people are affected by NTDs globally, and 1.6 billion require preventive or curative interventions.

The WHO targets for 2030 regarding NTDs:

  • 100 countries aiming to eliminate at least one NTD entirely.
  • Eradication of two specific NTDs: dracunculiasis (guinea-worm disease) and yaws.

Understanding Sleeping Sickness

  • Sleeping sickness, also known as Human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), is a vector-borne parasitic disease. 
  • Sleeping sickness, caused by protozoan parasites (trypanosomes), is a single-celled organism transmitted by tsetse flies (Glossina spp.) bite and is a deadly disease if untreated. 
  • It has long plagued sub-Saharan Africa, causing symptoms ranging from fatigue and headaches to severe cases leading to coma.

World Health Organisation 

  • WHO is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads global efforts on health issues.
  • Their main goal is to create a world where everyone has the right to good health and well-being.
  • Founding Year: April 7, 1948.
  • Headquartered: Geneva, Switzerland.

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