State unveils guidelines for Kala-azar treatment

Robin Obino @obinorobin

The government on Wednesday launched guidelines for treatment of Kala-azar in a bid to eradicate the disease by 2025. National Guidelines on Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment of Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL), commonly known as Kala-azar, will help health workers implement the various interventions to control and improve diagnosis of the disease.

Director of Medical Services at the Health ministry Dr Jackson Kioko said the government has embarked on a plan to eliminate all Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in the country.

Kala-azar is transmitted by infected female sand flies and is characterised by irregular fever bouts, weight loss and enlargement of spleen and liver. Dr Kioko said the new drug regime will go a long way in addressing the disease burden as it has reduced treatment to 17 days hence improving drug compliance.

WHO country representative Dr Joyce Onsongo lauded the revised guidelines, saying: “Rapid diagnostic kits can now be used by any health worker after basic orientation.”

Dr. Onsongo noted that through improved tools that have been incorporated, the new guidelines will provide better support for healthcare works and partners in prevention diagnosis and management of VL.

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