AFRICA – Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced an investment of US$6.8 million to extend the work of the Trypa-NO! partnership for a further 3 years.

The Trypa-No! Partnership is a collaboration between FIND, the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD), and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM).

From Africa is the Coordinating Office for the Control of Trypanosomiasis in Uganda (COCTU), the National HAT Control Programmes of Chad and Guinea, the National HAT Elimination Programme, Institut Pierre Richet, and the University of Daloa of Côte d’Ivoire.

All these groups have been working on research and control of human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), including HAT screening and diagnosis, treatment or vector control, for some years.

The project aims to eliminate HAT, also known as sleeping sickness, in Côte d’Ivoire and Uganda in the next three years, and to reduce HAT cases by 90% in Chad and Guinea.

This disease, transmitted by the bite of the tsetse fly, can be fatal if missed and left untreated. HAT is endemic to 36 sub-Saharan African countries and primarily affects people living in remote and rural areas, which has made monitoring the disease a challenge.

The project is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has prioritized the elimination of this neglected tropical disease, in accordance with the World Health Organization (WHO) 2020 Roadmap on Neglected Tropical Diseases.

“For the Ministry of Health in Guinea, the renewal of Trypa-NO! is very good news. Not only because it validates all the efforts made with the partnership of IRD for the last 10 years, but it will also galvanize the team to progress toward the goal of interrupting transmission,” Dr Mamadou Camara, coordinator of the HAT National Control Programme in Guinea, said.

“The strategy of combining medical and vector control was good, but it will need to be adapted to the low prevalence context. Further integration of activities in the peripheral health system and at the community level and building synergies with other NTD programmes will be key to achieve this goal.”

The new funding will ensure that each of these four countries, Uganda, Côte d’Ivoire, Chad and Guinea,  has a sustainable, long-term strategy to independently monitor the disease and achieve full interruption of transmission.

The grant will additionally allow Trypa-NO! to begin or expand work in four other nations: Angola, the Central African Republic, Sierra Leone and South Sudan.

In addition, by beginning or expanding efforts in Angola, the Central African Republic, Sierra Leone and South Sudan, the Trypa-NO! partnership will help these countries take steps to eliminate the disease and prevent its reintroduction into areas that have dramatically cut the number of cases.

“The continued support to Trypa-NO! will ensure that more countries can benefit from tailored elimination strategies that use the latest tools that have been developed for diagnosis, treatment, vector control and data management,” Dr Sylvain Biéler, Principal Scientist in charge of the HAT portfolio at FIND and Coordinator of the Trypa-NO! Partnership said.

“Building on recent successes and on the strong partnerships that have been established, we are committed to working with countries so that the WHO elimination targets are met, and HAT soon becomes a disease of the past.”

FIND has also received new funding from the Canton of Geneva in Switzerland to complement and augment activities in Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola, focused on integrating screening and testing at the primary care and community levels, raising awareness among healthcare workers and communities and developing strategies for the two countries to combine learnings and coordinate action.

This support brings the total new funding committed today, World NTD Day, for sleeping sickness elimination to over US$7 million.

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