Union Health Ministry on 8 July 2014 constituted a core group to work out a detailed action plan to eradicate the dreaded vector-borne disease, Kala Azar by 2015.
Union Health Minister, Harsh Vardhan has advised the core group to expedite the process to eradicate the disease from the country. India’s progress against Kala Azar is unsatisfactory.
Earlier, the Union Government in 2004 had set a target to wipe out the disease by 2008, which has been revised twice to 2010 and now to 2015.
Members of the Core Group
Ranjit Roy Chaudhury, the clinical pharmacologist has been named to coordinate a group of experts and officials. Earlier, Chuadhury has headed WHO’s Rational Use of Drugs in India programme. Other members of the group are
• Former Health Minister, CP Thakur,
• Head of Indian Council of Medical Research, VM Katoch
• Director General of Health Services, Jagdish Prasad,
• Specialist in pharmaceuticals, Kavita Khanna
• Head of the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, AC Dhariwal
• Health Secretaries of Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh
• Joint Secretary in the Union Health Ministry, Anshu Prakash
About Kala Azar
Globally, Kala Azar is known as Visceral Leishmaniasis, a zoonotic infection and is world’s second deadliest vector borne disease after Malaria. The disease is carried by sand fly found in the eastern UP, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal and usually strikes during the months of the monsoon. At present, the disease is concentrated in about 54 districts of India, of which Bihar is the worst affected state.
90 percent of the Visceral Leishmaniasis cases occur in 5 countries: Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Sudan and Brazil.
Sodium Stibogluconate use for treatment of Kala Azar
Research conducted late UN Brahmachari in 1920s led to use of Sodium Stibogluconate to treat the disease. But due to resistance developed among people against the drug has led to its minimal impact on patients.
When: on 8 July 2014