News and Information

Sleeping sickness tops agenda in Addis Ababa
November 9, 2004

November 09 2004 at 07:26PM

Addis Ababa - An international meeting under the auspices of the African Union is considering the creation of a tsetse fly-free zone in Africa, the vector which carries the sleeping sickness that annually claims 50 000 lives in three dozen sub-Saharan countries.

This proposal was contained in an AU report circulated in connection with the opening of the gathering on Tuesday. About one-third of the total land area of Africa - 30 million square kilometres - is known to be infested by the tsetse fly.

A hundred experts from Africa and other parts of the world were expected to attend the five-day meeting. They include representatives from 30 African countries as well as experts from the AU, the FAO, and the World Health organisation.

The report points out that according to the estimate of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, Africa loses about $4,5-billion annually due to the impact of the disease on agriculture, excluding its effects on human health and productivity.

Currently, the disease occurs in 37 countries stretching from Senegal to South Africa known as the tsetse fly belt. The disease is widely recognised as one of Africa's greatest constraints to socio-economic development. - Sapa-dpa


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