Programme Against African Trypanosomosis (PAAT)

Vector control and the elimination of gambiense human African trypanosomiasis (HAT)


05/10/2021 06/10/2021

Human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), also known as sleeping sickness, is a vector-borne disease transmitted by tsetse flies. The gambiense form of HAT is found in western and central Africa, and it is mainly anthroponotic (i.e. transmitted from human to human via the tsetse vector); the rhodesiense form is found in eastern and southern Africa, and it is considered zoonotic (i.e. transmission to humans via tsetse often originates from wild or domestic animals).

Galvanized by twenty years of dramatic progress in disease control, the World Health Organization (WHO) has now targeted the elimination of gambiense HAT transmission by 2030. This goal has been enshrined in the new WHO roadmap for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) 2021-2030: Ending the neglect to attain the Sustainable Development Goals.

Progress in gambiense HAT control over the past twenty years has mainly relied on medical interventions (i.e. case detection and treatment). Vector control can also contribute to curbing transmission by reducing tsetse-human contact.

The main purpose of this meeting is to review tsetse control tools, activities and their contribution to the elimination of gambiense HAT and the monitoring thereof. Metrics for the estimation of the impact and coverage of vector control in space and time will be discussed, with a view towards improved, harmonized reporting and monitoring. The main gaps and research needs will be addressed, with a view to improving existing tools. Tsetse control activities in the context of gambiense HAT elimination will also be discussed in the broader framework of One-Health, and in particular in relation to the control of animal trypanosomosis.

This meeting of the WHO network for HAT elimination is organized with the support of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) within the framework of the Programme against African Trypanosomosis (PAAT). Participants will include health officials from gambiense HAT endemic countries, research and academic institutions, international organizations and the private sector.