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Khyber district: 500 Leishmania patients in a month, no medicine

Khyber district: 500 Leishmania patients in a month, no medicine

According to the local hospitals of Khyber district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, as the weather changes, the area is witnessing an increase in the cases of Leishmania, an abscess disease, while its medicine is not available in medical stores and only ‘foreign aid’ has to be relied upon.

According to official data obtained by Independent Urdu, a total of 517 cases of leishmania have been reported in Khyber district during February and March alone, of which 255 were reported in tehsil Lindi Kotal, 60 in Bara and 202 in Jamrud.

Ehsanullah Afridi, in-charge of Leishmania Ward at District Headquarters Hospital Landi Kotal, said that ‘the number of patients is increasing and free facilities are being provided to all.’

Throwing light on the current situation, Dr. Khalid Dawar, coordinator of the government’s Victor program in Khyber district, told Independent Urdu that the injection used to treat Leishmania is currently available in all hospitals in Khyber district, but at any time. There may be a shortage and in such a case they will only be able to rely on the World Health Organization (WHO).’

“Dependence on foreign aid remains a concern for us, as it can be shorted at any time and the delivery of aid from the other side can also be delayed.

‘In this disease, the patient should be taken to the hospital immediately to prevent the spread of the disease.’

Reasons for increase

Dr. Khalid Dawar, coordinator of the Victor program, told Independent Urdu that ‘five hundred cases in just one month is a large number.’

However, he said that Leishmania has become an epidemic for the past few years, which is mostly found in Afghanistan, Balochistan, tribal districts and southern districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Dr. Dawar said that ‘there are many factors behind this, including lack of development, lack of awareness, non-availability of medicines etc.’

‘One of the reasons is that as the weather changes, Victor gets a chance to re-emerge and cases increase.’

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He added that ‘anyone can be affected by Leishmania, but most of the children are affected because they play in open fields, where the sand fly’, the mosquito that spreads Leishmania, is found.

Dr. Khalid Dawar said that ‘this disease can be eliminated by killing sandflies in animal sheds, corners of old buildings and keeping a clean environment.’

He further informed that ‘the type of Leishmania found in Pakistan does not cause death and this disease is limited only to the skin.’

Rahat Shinwari, social worker and journalist of Khyber district, told Independent Urdu that ‘last year, he had successfully treated about 1,000 Leishmania patients with the support of Class Four Association District Hospital Lindi Kotal.’

Dr. Wahab, another social worker from Khyber district, told Independent Urdu that the condition of Leishmania patients in his district has worsened because more people rely on home remedies and do not go to the hospital.

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