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Finalist 2006

Miguel Cuenca Candel

Southern Sudan: the fight against sleeping sickness


Despite the ceasefire signed by the Sudanese government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, tribal tension has been ongoing in this African country. In this unstable context, public health policies do not reach remote rural areas and health structures have been devastated. The consequences are dire. Epidemics sometimes occur unbeknownst to the authorities. Diseases that were under control decades ago resurface.

Trypanosomiasis interventions usually have two components: treatment and follow-up of patients in a hospital and active case-finding. It is very important to find and treat as many infected people as possible so that, even if they are bitten by the fly, they do not transmit the disease. This involves mobilising communities, travel and on-site laboratory testing. Here, a technician performs a lumbar puncture on a local chief in Tambora to assess the severity of his condition.