Prevention without cure: Shortage of funds impedes Leishmaniasis treatment

Published: May 16, 2016
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Dr Khalid, the head of provincial dengue control programme, said they have funds available for purchasing medicines. STOCK IMAGE

Dr Khalid, the head of provincial dengue control programme, said they have funds available for purchasing medicines. STOCK IMAGE

PESHAWAR: The Karak district health department is facing an acute shortage of funds to deal with the rising number of leishmaniasis patients. So far, around 751 cases have been confirmed by the district health department.

Tehsil municipal administrations (TMA) are expected to provide funds for petrol and diesel required to kill the leishmaniasis larva. However, the tehsil municipal administrations of Banda Daud Shah and Takht-e-Nasrati have refused to help the district administration with the task.

“We provide medicine and the TMA facilitates us with diesel or petrol [which are] to be added with the medicine for fumigation to kill the larva,” a senior official in the district health department told The Express Tribune over the phone. “But TMAs for both the tehsils have refused to further assist [with the fumigation].”

He added the disease has infected a huge number of people. The official said it happened in hilly areas and was not an epidemic – fumigation and spray in the rooms are the only options to kill the sand fly whose bite causes leishmaniasis.

“Fumigation is expensive and spray inside rooms cannot kill the larva completely,” he said.

Sans supply

According to the official, small spray pumps were ready for use. However, since they were fewer in number, demand for the whole district could not be met.

“Malaria Control Program had ensured funds, but they have not been released yet,” he added.

When contacted, District Health Officer Shah Rasool Jan told The Express Tribune it was not an epidemic and has only surfaced due to mosquito bite. He added nearly 100 Glucantime injections were provided by the health department – they have been utilised.

“Yes, there are cases but not the ones being mentioned since those monitoring the situation failed to collect fresh cases,” he said. “Around 38 cases were reported from different areas.”

Dr Khalid, the head of provincial dengue control programme, said they have funds available for purchasing medicines. But the federal government has yet to give permission since they were manufactured outside the country and were included in the Medicines Coordination Cell.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 17th, 2016.

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