• Challenges of controlling sleeping sickness in areas of violent conflict: experience in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

      Tong, J; Valverde, O; Mahoudeau, C; Yun, O; Chappuis, F; Médecins Sans Frontières, Rue de Lausanne 78, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland. jacquitong@yahoo.co.uk. (BioMed Central, 2011-05-26)
      Human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), or sleeping sickness, is a fatal neglected tropical disease if left untreated. HAT primarily affects people living in rural sub-Saharan Africa, often in regions afflicted by violent conflict. Screening and treatment of HAT is complex and resource-intensive, and especially difficult in insecure, resource-constrained settings. The country with the highest endemicity of HAT is the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which has a number of foci of high disease prevalence. We present here the challenges of carrying out HAT control programmes in general and in a conflict-affected region of DRC. We discuss the difficulties of measuring disease burden, medical care complexities, waning international support, and research and development barriers for HAT.