Emergency treatment for kala azar in Ethiopia

Watch how MSF is responding to an unusually high number of deaths caused by kala azar.

In late 2022, MSF’s teams from Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region (SNNPR) of Ethiopia received an alert about an unusually high number of deaths caused by visceral leishmaniasis, also known as kala azar. MSF immediately prepared an emergency response, setting-up mobile clinics that actively found and treated 79 patients with kala azar in less than two months.

“Patients come with a huge swelling of their spleen and liver, a fever, malnutrition, and sometimes even bleeding because their bone marrow is affected. It's among the neglected tropical diseases that can cause a 95 percent fatality [rate] if left untreated. So, you can understand the urgency of finding these cases and putting them on treatment,” said MSF doctor, Hiwot Melak.