Half a year after Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) were forced to abandon its project in the northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) due to the security situation, it is still not safe to return. Meanwhile, infection levels of sleeping sickness, which was a main focus of MSF’s activities in the area, are on the rise and many vulnerable people are at risk to the fatal disease.
Human African Trypanosomiasis, also known as African Sleeping Sickness, is a fatal and much neglected disease that continues to plague parts of Africa. The drug most commonly used to treat the disease is so toxic that it kills one in 20 patients. While a better drug exists, it is too complex to use in resource-poor settings. In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), sleeping sickness has made a disturbing comeback over the past few decades.