With the country, grappled with shocking infant mortality rates, tuberculosis, malaria and trauma, the disease ‘leishmaniasis’ was left unattained for decades as it has never been the priority either of the government or its aid donors.
But recently, the hopes for ones affected by the disease are not that grim. Though it is not the priority of the Afghan government, the disease, caused by a parasite transmitted by a tiny sandfly, seems to be attracting a bit more attention in the West, if not bringing in more funds.
As symptoms, the disease leads to severe scarring, often on the face. Another reason for the disease’s not being in the government’s priority list is the most common form of the disease’s not being fatal.
But, it causes untold misery for the victims.
The scarring on the victims face makes him or her “stigmatized”, with children being excluded at school and girls often failing to find husbands for no faults of her own.
Now, NATO camps have been fortified in Afghanistan in an effort to stop the sandflies, as about 150 foreign troops both in Afghanistan and Iraq were found to be bitten by the sandflies in 2005, developing the disease.
Hope, the efforts and tips of NATO to protect and warn soldiers on how to keep away from the bites would prove useful for the indigenous Afghans, victim to the disease.