Factors influencing passive surveillance for T. b. rhodesiense human african trypanosomiasis in Uganda

Acta Tropica
Christine AcupSusan Christina Welburn


Sleeping sickness or Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT) is a neglected tropical disease of public health importance across much of Sub-Saharan Africa. In Uganda, chronic T. b. gambiense HAT (gHAT) and acute T. b. rhodesiense HAT (rHAT) occur in two large but discrete geographical foci. Both forms are difficult to diagnose, expensive to treat and ultimately fatal in the absence of treatment. The area affected by zoonotic rHAT has been steadily expanding, placing a high burden on local health systems. HAT is a disease of neglected populations and is notorious for being under-reported. Here we examine the factors that influence passive rHAT surveillance within the district health system in four Ugandan districts into which the disease had recently been introduced, focusing on staff knowledge, infrastructure and data management. A mixed methods study was undertaken between 2011 and 2013 in Dokolo, Kaberamaido, Soroti and Serere districts to explore health facility capacity and clinical service provision, diagnostic capacity, HAT knowledge and case reporting. Structured interviews were undertaken with 86 medical personnel, including clinicians, nurses, midwives and technicians across 65 HC-II and HC-III medical facilities, where th...Continue Reading


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African trypanosomiasis, also known as sleeping sickness, is an insect-borne parasitic disease of humans and other animals. It is caused by protozoa of the species Trypanosoma brucei and almost invariably progresses to death unless treated. Discover the latest research on African trypanosomiasis here.

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