NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya on Wednesday launched guidelines for
treatment of Kala-azar that aims to boost efforts to eradicate
the disease by 2025.
Jackson Kioko, the
director of Medical Services at the Ministry of Health told
journalists in Nairobi that the revised guidelines on
Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment of Kala-azar provides a road
map to reduce the level of exposure to the seven million people
at risk of contracting the parasitic disease in six endemic
“The guidelines also
introduce the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended Sodium
Stibogluconate and Paromomycin combination therapy as a first
line treatment for the vector borne disease,” Kioko said.
Visceral Leishmaniasis, is characterized by irregular bouts of
fever, substantial weight loss, swelling of spleen and liver,
and anemia. The treatment is currently based on pentavalent
antimonials whose full treatment required injections for a
period of 30 days.
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
In addition, he
noted that the new guidelines recommend use of Ambisome, for
patients with special needs.
Data from the
Ministry of Health indicates that approximately 2,500 people are
infected with the disease annually.
Rudolf Eggers, the
WHO Country Representative in Kenya said his organization has
been supporting Kenya to control Kala-azar.
supported include procurement of medicines and diagnosis kits,
training of healthcare workers on appropriate prevention,
diagnosis and case management of this disease and development of
guidelines and strategies for use by healthcare workers and
partners,” Eggers said.
In 2017, Kenya
experienced an outbreak of Kala-azar in Marsabit county which
the WHO, ministry of Health and the other partners coordinated a
multi-agency emergency response and the outbreak was contained.