It received “validation” of the sickness’ elimination after not reporting a single case in the past 10 years, the WHO added.
“Togo is a pathfinder in eliminating sleeping sickness, a disease which has threatened millions of Africans,” said Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO’s regional director for Africa.
Sleeping sickness, or human African trypanosomiasis, is caused by parasites which are transmitted by infected tsetse flies and is only found in 36 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
If left untreated it is almost always fatal.
In 1995, about 25,000 cases were detected, while in 2019, fewer than 1,000 cases were found.
The WHO regional director noted that “There are two forms of sleeping sickness. The first, due to Trypanosoma brucei gambiense, is found in 24 countries in west and central Africa and accounts for more than 98 per cent of cases.
“The second form, due to Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense, is found in 13 countries in eastern and southern Africa and represents the rest of the cases. WHO and partners are targeting the elimination as a public health problem of the gambiense form of the disease from all endemic countries by 2030. Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana have started the validation process with the support of WHO.
“Wiping out the gambiense form of sleeping sickness will require maintaining the commitment of endemic countries and of donors as well as integrating control and surveillance activities into the regular health systems. These efforts need to be supported by improved tools, innovative disease control approaches and effective coordination of efforts,” the UN agency noted.