Union Health Ministry, formally launched a revised strategy for total eradication of the dreaded disease Kala Azar
The new strategy involves carrying out active searches for people with symptoms of the disease in the 54 affected districts of the four states where the disease is known to strike –Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and the eastern part of Uttar Pradesh. Thirty three districts in Bihar, eleven of West Bengal, four in Jharkhand and six districts of Eastern Uttar Pradesh of Bihar are affected by Kala-azar.
The Health Minister announced that early diagnosis and treatment using a single dose called Liposomal Amphoterecin B administered intravenously would help reduce the human reservoir of infection. World Health Organisation (WHO) has agreed to supply the drug free.
Dr Harsh Vardhan also unveiled Kala Azar Rapid Diagnosis kits developed by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). As part of the new strategy, an insecticide, synthetic Pyrethroid, directed specifically at the sand fly, which is known vector source of Kala Azar, would also be supplied for spraying on the walls of homes in the endemic regions.
He said, “We have the drugs and the motivation, but what is most necessary is coordination. Since coming to office, I have concentrated on tying up the loose ends. I can say with confidence that like with polio and small box, Kala Azar too will become history by the end of 2015.
Kala Azar has also been declared a notifiable disease, which means all doctors, whether in government or private service, are henceforth required to alert the state health authorities whenever they encounter a patient with the disease’s symptoms.
The new strategy has been developed by a core group comprising experts and officials of the Health Ministry. The roadmap document focused on efforts at the national, state, district and sub-district levels.
Bihar accounts for 80 percent of the cases in India, the moot reason for the Health Minister’s choice of Patna for launching the new initiative. “