Algunas páginas están disponibles en Español.
Kala Azar: Still Waiting
John Stanmeyer in South Sudan
Some three decades ago, a mystery disease spread throughout Sudan and what is now South Sudan, decimating communities, sewing fear, and killing scores. It turned out to be kala azar, also known as visceral leishmanaisis, a disease that is spread by the bite of a sandfly and that is, as this episode showed, fatal if not treated.
MSF began caring for kala azar patients during that epidemic and has continued to do so through the present day, in both Sudan and South Sudan, and in other East African nations where the disease appears, as well as in South Asia. The needs are different in the different locations, because the strains of the disease found have their own particular characteristics. What unites them, however, is that the people trying to combat the disease are hamstrung by shortcomings in targeted research and development that has resulted in a lack of suitable diagnostics and treatment regimens.
There are 400,000 new cases of kala azar diagnosed worldwide each year with approximately 40,000 deaths due to the parasitic disease. The eight most affected countries – Bangladesh, Brazil, India, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nepal, Sudan, and South Sudan – represent over 90 percent of new cases.
MSF has successfully adapted its treatment protocols over the years in order to bring shorter, less toxic, and less painful options to patients, but as VII Photo’s John Stanmeyer saw on a recent trip to MSF projects in South Sudan, a great deal remains to be done in order to provide better, more specialized, more accessible treatment and testing, and to prevent further devastation.
Read more about kala azar, and MSF's work with, and advocacy for, kala azar patients.
Behind the scenes with John Stanmeyer
John Stanmeyer, born in Illinois, is a founding member of VII photo agency.
Living in the Far East for over twelve years, Stanmeyer has witnessed throughout that time nearly every major historical event in Asia, photographing the rapid changes taking place throughout the entire region. Working globally, he has focused on the plight of refugees from the Ugandan civil war, spent months chronicling the effects of the 2004 Tsunami and documented the mental healthcare crises in Asia. Prior to moving to Hong Kong in 1996, Stanmeyer covered the conflict in South Sudan, Eastern European social change after the fall of Communism, as well as numerous visits to Haiti to record the endless social tragedies plaguing the island nation. For over eight years he has documented the spread of HIV/AIDS through every country in Asia. Stanmeyer’s focus is on social injustices, eradication of global poverty, human rights and raising awareness for the sustaining vanishing cultures.
Working regularly for National Geographic Magazine, on contract with Time Magazine for over ten years and photographing for numerous other global publications, Stanmeyer has been the recipient of numerous honors including the prestigious Robert Capa award, named Magazine Photographer of the Year, awarded numerous World Press, Picture of the Year and NPPA awards and, in 2008, received the National Magazine Award for this in-depth essay on the global Malaria epidemic.
Stanmeyer’s latest book, Island of the Spirits, a journalistic/anthropologic look at Balinese culture documented over the five years he lived on the island, was published in November 2010.
He has recently moved back to the United States and lives with this wife, Anastasia, and their three children on a farm in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts.