Stamp Out Sleeping sickness (S.O.S.) initiative highlighted at WHO 3rd International Conference on Neglected Zoonotic

At the WHO Third International Conference on Neglected Zoonotic Diseases held on November 23/24 2010, Dr. Anthony Mbonye, the Commissioner of Health Services in Uganda praised the SOS initiative as an excellent example of an “One Health” approach, where...

Uganda is the only country in Africa, where the two forms of human sleeping sickness, one of the most significant of the neglected zoonotic diseases, are present. In 2006 the country was faced with an emergency situation where the two disease belts threatened to converge with serious consequences for diagnosis and treatment in these areas where health services were already severely stretched.

At WHO Headquarters in Geneva, Dr. Anthony Mbonye, the Commissioner of Health Services in Uganda outlined the current control strategies, which have led to a reduction in the incidence of the disease in the country. The commissioner praised the SOS initiative as an excellent example of an “One Health” approach, where experts from the animal, human and public health sectors have worked together to control trypanosomiasis or sleeping sickness.

Initially approximately 250,000 cattle were treated by final year veterinary students from Makerere University supervised by their teachers, to clear them of infection and thereby reduce the possibility of transmission of trypanosomiasis to the human population.  Five young veterinarians who took part in the treatment programme, have subsequently established their own businesses to provide veterinary products and services to the communities in the area.

A second phase is currently underway, which will treat approximately 175,000 cattle in the neighboring Soroti and Serere districts.  A further six vets and six young animal health workers are currently being employed to service veterinary access points in the treated area. It is expected that some of them will also establish their own businesses, thereby providing the community with a sustainable means to support the gains made during the “free of charge” treatments.

Neglected zoonotic diseases such as sleeping sickness are massively underreported (up to 12x as many deaths as reported) according to Dr. David Molyneux of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and have a disastrous impact on the lives of the “bottom billion”.
The SOS partners are committed to continuing to work with communities to introduce them to the simple technology – restricted application of insecticides (RAP), which will allow them to control their own and their animals’ health from the threat of sleeping sickness.


CEVA Santé Animale (France): Martin Mitchell, Phone:+33 5 57 55 40 80
IKARE/IK Investment Partners (pan-European): Anne Holm Rannaleet,
 Phone: +46 70 378 9550
Makerere University (Uganda): Professor John David Kabasa,
Phone: +256 772 499 27
University of Edinburgh (UK): Professor Susan Welburn, / Phone: +44 77 4095 0863

High Heights (Uganda): Professor Charles Waiswa,,
Phone: + 256 772 801 247

To find out more information on the Sleeping sickness, please visit:

>> Click on the link below to download the Press Release :    SOS_press_WHO_25nov2010.pdf (60.79 kB)  

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