Simon Van Nieuwenhove

Between late 2010 and the end of 2014 and under extremely difficult conditions, Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) carried out a project to combat Human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), also known as sleeping sickness, in the Dingila, Ango and Zobia regions of Orientale Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). HAT in DRC is caused by Trypanosoma brucei gambiense and is transmitted by the tsetse fly (Glossina genus) of the Palpalis group. Without effective treatment, virtually all first-stage HAT patients and one hundred per cent of second-stage patients will die. It is a fact that when the project began, HAT was a public health problem in Bas-Uélé. As a result, large numbers of patients were treated and many lives were undoubtedly saved.