Earlier today, I reblogged a post from the Wellcome Trust about African sleeping sickness, also known as Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT). That blog post mentioned this disease having been nearly eradicated, but now being rife again. What happened?
Here’s an article about the history of African trypanosomiasis. It seems that after colonised countries won independence, some people were too busy killing each other to promote healthcare. ‘In the aftermath of decolonisation, many African countries experienced political instability and economic ruin with a disastrous effect on the health services. After a decade of low endemicity, the control of trypanosomiasis was no longer a priority.’
Sleeping sickness is classed as one of the Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). ‘Neglected’ because it’s not fashionable in the rich world to put research effort and money into these diseases. But people are dying. Here’s a report about what’s being done to break the grip of NTDs. Here’s another blog post from the Wellcome Trust, telling us more about progress in the fight against NTDs.