Skip to 0 minutes and 12 secondsSIMON CROFT: Hello. Welcome to the course, the control and elimination of visceral leishmaniasis. My name is Simon Croft and I'm the Professor of Parasitology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. I'm one of the lead educators. You'll meet the other lead, my colleague Dr. Vanessa Yardley, during the course. So what is the course about and why should you take part in it? The course is about a disease called visceral leishmaniasis, which is also known as kala-azar. It's caused by parasites called Leishmania, which you'll hear more about in part one of the course.

Skip to 0 minutes and 57 secondsWhy is this disease important? Well, millions of people throughout many regions of the world are at risk of catching the disease every year. It's found mainly in Southeast Asia, East Africa, South America, and affects some of the poorest and most marginalised communities, which is why it's sometimes called a neglected tropical disease.

Skip to 1 minute and 23 secondsWhy is the course important now? Well, the good news is that there are major efforts to eliminate visceral leishmaniasis in Asia, that is, in India, Bangladesh and Nepal, and to improve control in East Africa, in Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya and Uganda. At the same time, there's been a lot more funding to support these efforts to eliminate and control the disease. You will probably be part of one of those efforts. So what will we cover in the course? Over the next four weeks, we'll describe and discuss the methods and approaches to control visceral leishmaniasis.

Skip to 2 minutes and 8 secondsWe will lead you through a series of videos, articles, and interviews, including experts on visceral leishmaniasis who are trained in public health, in treatment, and in disease control. Each week of the course has a different focus and throughout our time together we will be answering the following questions. What and where is visceral leishmaniasis? How can we diagnose it and treat it? What are the tools we can use to control the vector that spreads the disease? And how can we monitor and evaluate control and elimination programmes to ensure that they are delivered properly and effectively? We encourage you all to share your opinions and network with others on the course.

Skip to 2 minutes and 59 secondsPlease do share your profiles, as it will help us to understand and support your reasons for taking this course. We hope that you will both learn from and enjoy and find the course useful.

Welcome to the course

Visceral leishmaniasis is considered to be the second most deadly protozoan parasitic disease after malaria. It carries a large disease burden compared to other parasitic infections. For example, in 2010 alone, over 3,000 Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYS) were lost[1] (DALYS are a widely-used indicator of disease morbidity in public health).

This course, the Control and Elimination of Visceral Leishmaniasis, has been created to bring together information about this disease. Significant efforts are being made to eliminate VL. KalaCORE, along with significant contributions from its partners, seek to support these efforts by providing a resource for learning about the biology of the Leishmania parasite as well as the impact of VL and ways it can be controlled in the context of a national elimination programme.

This welcoming video, by Professor Simon Croft introduces the course and gives an overview of the course structure.

At the bottom of this page, you will find a downloadable Glossary of Terms, which we hope you will find helpful as you make your way through the course material.

We hope you enjoy the course.

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This video is from the free online course:

Control and Elimination of Visceral Leishmaniasis

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine