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Why is it important to control VL?

Visceral leishmaniasis affects people at an individual level and at a population or national level. Watch this video with Dr Vikas Aggarwal.

Visceral leishmaniasis affects people at an individual level but also has a range of impacts at a population or national level[1].

In the following interview, Dr Vikas Aggarwal discusses some of the direct and indirect effects VL has on people in the Indian subcontinent. VL is not only burdensome in terms of clinical symptoms and the number of days lost, it can also place a direct financial burden on patients and their carers. A recent KalaCORE study (see figure below) aimed to uncover these costs by surveying VL patients. One finding was that many people need to borrow money in order to access treatment, although treatment is free at the point of care.

The figure illustrates findings from a recent study in India. It shows that VL disease can dramatically affect patients' finances (this way contributing to the ongoing cycle of poverty).

For East Africa, the burden of VL will be different although it is still the poorest of the poor that are affected the most. The number of VL cases in the region has increased significantly over the past 15 years with an expected material impact on the population. A recent study has looked at how people access VL care in an endemic region in Sudan[2]– it is clear that economic constraints as well as cultural barriers play their part.

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Control and Elimination of Visceral Leishmaniasis

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