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Gates Foundation, Medicine-Sans-Frontier to help fight kala azar in Bihar
Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna | September 12, 2007 13:45 IST
There is good news for the hundreds of people suffering from the deadly kala azar (black fever) in Bihar's flood affected areas. The Washington-based Gates Foundation, the California-based Institute for One World Health and the Spain-based Medicine-Sans-Frontier will fund the kala azar control and eradication programme in Bihar.
According to the state government's estimates, over 3,000 people are suffering from kala azar in Bihar. But Thakur says that the actual figure is nearly one lakh and hundreds have died of black fever in the last one year.
"Several kala azar deaths have been reported from flood affected districts in the last six weeks," said Thakur. In rural Bihar, people from Dalit communities like Musahars, Dusadh fall prey to this the 'poor man's disease'.
According to sources in the state government, the World Bank has shown a keen interest in funding the kala azar control and eradication programme.
Ironically, the state government and the Centre have been involved in a blame game over the disease for the last ten years. Neither is willing to take the responsibility of tackling the disease.
Kala azar -- medically known as Visceral Leishmaniasis -- is a vector-borne disease. Its symptoms are fever, weight loss, swelling of spleen, liver and anemia.