The New Humanitarian Annual Report 2021

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Kenya's neglected disease

A young Pokot warrior stands next to a disused termite mound. After they have been abandoned by termites the mounds are colonized by sand flies which carry the deadly disease Kala Azar
A young Pokot warrior stands next to a disused termite mound (David Gough/IRIN)

Kala Azar is a parasitic disease transmitted by sand-flies affecting an estimated 500,000 people a year globally. If left untreated it will almost always result in death. It is the world’s second-largest parasitic killer after malaria, yet few people have even heard of it. The disease is endemic in many parts of India and east Africa, including the Pokot region of northwest Kenya.
The international medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) established a presence in the town of Kachileba in 2006  treating between 30 and 50 people a month.The treatment consists of one injection a day for 30 days and has a very high success rate.But despite this, thousands still die every year in Kenya because they have no access to medical facilities, information or trained medical personnel.

 View the slideshow

This IRIN photogallery looks at how Kala Azar is being tackled in Kachileba


This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information:

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