5/16/2012 2:30:00 PM

Raising awareness of Kala Azar in India

Health authorities in the east Indian state of Bihar are taking new steps to increase awareness of Kala Azar, or visceral leishmaniasis. Along with Bangladesh, Nepal and Sudan, India accounts for some 90% of cases of the disease, which is transmitted by sandflies. Bihar is one of the worst affected areas, with over 23,000 reported cases and an official death toll of 74 in 2011.
Now, the State Ministry of Health has launched a program aimed at increasing awareness of Kala Azar by training socially committed young people. They would then pass on information about the disease through special clubs set up in affected villages, focusing on the worst-hit districts in the north of Bihar: Vaishali, Muzaffarpur, Sitamarhi, Sheohar and East and West Champaran.

“With the expected phase out of DDT, more solutions are needed in the fight against Kala Azar. The private sector can also play an important role in not only developing new solutions but can also help to spread awareness. Bayer is currently supporting two trials in order to find innovative solutions to tackle this disease”, said Shanni Srivastava, Bayer Market segment Manager-Rural & Vector Control in India.