Access to treatment for Kala-azar patients in indigenous communities in Bangladesh

Friday, 18 May, 2018

A 22-year-old male from the indigenous community of Niaymatpur upazila in Northern Bangladesh was first identified as a suspected case of leprosy by the Damien Foundation, an NGO working on leprosy and tuberculosis. The diagnostic test for leprosy was found negative and the patient was discharged without any further investigation.

Recently, the Upazila Kala-azar Coordinator (UKC) conducted a meeting with the Upazila, attended by the health manager of Damien Foundation who told the UKC about the patient's case. The UKC suspected he may have PKDL and so he visited Niaymatpur to sensitize the community. The UKC then brought him to the Niaymatpur Upazila Health Complex where he was diagnosed with PKDL and referred for treatment at the SKKRC, a KalaCORE supported hospital specialising in Kala-azar patient management. Support from KalaCORE to the UKC is thus contributing to improved access to treatment for indigenous VL and PKDL patients in this marginalized community in Bangladesh. Quickly after this case, two other PKDL patients in the community who had been untreated for 2-3 years were also identified and referred for treatment.