The Human African Trypanosomiasis Modelling and Economic Predictions for Policy (HAT MEPP) is a 3-year research project started in 2018 and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) to: provide decision support to national 'sleeping sickness' programmes in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Chad, Cote d’lvoire, Guinea and Uganda; deliver a disease elimination investment case (EIC) for the BMGF; and support analyses of on-going sleeping sickness elimination programmes. Current work is ongoing across the following areas:
Infection transmission modelling and projections
For the first time, it has been possible to carry out sophisticated modelling of sleeping sickness transmission across all health zones in DRC based on real case data spanning 17 years, thanks to complex coding to automate matching (‘fitting’) of the existing model parameters to the large volume of data. The model can account for local variation across DRC when projecting transmission levels, and simulating different intervention and cost scenarios.It has provided robust, quantitative evidence to identify health zones requiring enhanced disease control to reach elimination of transmission by WHO's 2030 goal and the evidence-base for HAT MEPP as a whole.
Current work is also underway to factor in COVID-19 interruptions.
Optimising elimination intervention strategies and costs
A key research outcome being generated from the project is evidence of the expected year of elimination of sleeping sickness under different combinations of interventions, taking into account varying local experience and needs from the modelling data. This is further expanded to provide the cost and cost-effectiveness of each intervention strategy in terms of net benefit (cost of interventions vs cost of ill-health/disability/death), which is added to the model. The research offers a number of different options highlighting the most efficient intervention strategy to achieve elimination by 2030 and the optimal strategy to lower costs.
The 'GUI' (Graphical User Interface) provides online access to the vast amount of data and results of this research project in a user-friendly way, using maps and charts. It is pivotal in communicating the evidence generated by the project to support policy and investment decisions by national programmes and donors. The GUI shows country and regional information (such as provinces and health-zones in DRC), transmission levels (past and projected), a range of future intervention strategies, different outcomes, costs and cost-effectiveness. The results are being updated as they are produced throughout the project.
New diagnostics and interventions
There is potential for new and improved diagnostics and drugs, under development, to alter and expedite the pathway to elimination of sleeping sickness. An important part of the HAT MEPP project is to support analyses of these (other) ongoing gHAT elimination programmes and factoring preliminary results and new intervention strategy scenarios into the modelling of time to elimination and cost, taking into account the local dynamics provided within the model.
See project results and publications for further information.
The HAT MEPP 1 project booklet:
Principal Investigator (PI):
Warwick project team:
Swiss TPH project team:
Former team members