Dr. Unni Karunakara discusses the state of chronic medical emergency in Central African Republic, calling on the government and international organizations to commit to the fight against treatable diseases.
MSF is responding to outbreaks of kala azar—a severe parasitic disease—in Southern Sudan. The emergency is in several locations across the eastern part of the region, and MSF is treating patients in its clinics in Pibor and Lankien, both in Jonglei State, and using mobile teams in Rom, in Upper Nile State, to actively trace patients.
Half a year after Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) were forced to abandon its project in the northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) due to the security situation, it is still not safe to return. Meanwhile, infection levels of sleeping sickness, which was a main focus of MSF’s activities in the area, are on the rise and many vulnerable people are at risk to the fatal disease.
MSF welcomes recognition by UK drugs company GlaxoSmithKline that patents act as a barrier to research and development and that patent pools offer new ways to stimulate research into neglected diseases. Promises now need to be turned into action.
Human African Trypanosomiasis, also known as African Sleeping Sickness, is a fatal and much neglected disease that continues to plague parts of Africa. The drug most commonly used to treat the disease is so toxic that it kills one in 20 patients. While a better drug exists, it is too complex to use in resource-poor settings. In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), sleeping sickness has made a disturbing comeback over the past few decades.