NAIROBI, June 28 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's Ministry of Health on Monday released guidelines to help reduce deaths from the parasitic disease visceral leishmaniasis, or kala-azar
Rashid Aman, chief administrative secretary in the Ministry of Health revealed that five million Kenyans, mainly children aged 5-14 years are at risk of the disease, mostly in nine Arid and Semi Arid parts of the country (ASAL).
"We have plans to reduce deaths from the disease since if left untreated, 95 percent of people with kala-azar risk to die," Aman told journalists in Nairobi during the launch of a strategic plan that envisions the elimination of the disease by the year 2025.
He said that 607 cases of visceral leishmaniasis, parasites which are spread by the bite of sand flies, were reported in 2018, while 1,463 and 1, 211 respectively were reported in the year 2019 and 2020.
He added that by the end of 2025 people living in endemic areas will be relieved of the burden and suffering brought about by the diseases that will eventually lead to improved economic productivity and improved health.
According to the Ministry of Health data, approximately 2,500 people are infected with the disease annually.
Aman said that the strategic plan will guide management of leishmaniasis with a focus on disease ecology and mapping case identification.
He added that the plan will also guide the government and all partners in controlling the disease and work towards its elimination as a public health problem.
Leishmaniasis is a parasitic disease found in parts of the tropics, subtropics, and southern Europe. Leishmaniasis has several different forms. Visceral leishmaniasis is the most serious manifestation, which affects some of the internal organs of the body such as the spleen, liver, and bone marrow. Enditem