Alarming rise in leishmaniasis cases in Balochistan cities
Number of sand fly victims reaches 25,000 in 22 districts
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An alarming rise is currently being witnessed in Leishmaniasis cases in 22 districts of Balochistan with 25,000 people who have reportedly fallen victim to the bites of sand flies.
A report broadcasted by 24NewsHD TV channel reveals that cities including Quetta, Qila Abdullah, Jaffarabad and Kech are at high risk.
The report also reveals that Quetta reports 2,317 cases, Jaffarabad reports 1,774 cases, Qila Abdullah reports 1,906 cases, and Kech reports 1,649 cases of leishmaniasis. The bite of the sand fly immediately leaves a wound mark on the victim’s skin.
It has also been learnt that the provincial health department lacks injections for leishmaniasis, and people are forced to buy injections smuggled from Kabul at higher rates. The cost per injection at medical stores ranges from Rs19,000 to Rs2,000.
“The World Health Organisation (WHO) stopped providing injections for leishmaniasis in 2019 after the spread of Covid-19 outbreak,” said Balochistan Health DG Dr Noor Muhammad Qazi and added that the only cure for leishmaniasis was Glucantime injection.
“The Glucantime injection is not registered with the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan, and therefore, the Balochistan government is unable to procure it from the federal government,” he maintained.
“An infected person has to be administered 21 injections for complete cure,” Dr Qazi said and added that talks were underway with UNICEF for the provision of Glucantime injections in Balochistan.
“It is hoped that the injections will be provided in a month,” he expressed his optimism and stressed the need for a fumigation campaign to eliminate sand flies in Balochistan.
“The fumigation campaign, for the elimination of sand flies, hits snag because the areas of Balochistan are so vast and remote,” Dr Qazi pointed out.
“If this situation persists, the number of patients and the growth of sand flies will reach an alarming level in the province,” he expressed fear.
Reporter Rizwan Saeed