India remains the main focus of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) disease burden in the South Asia. The States of Bihar and Jharkhand remain the most endemic for VL infection.
India has made good progress towards VL elimination. In 2013, 13,869 cases were reported, representing a drop of over 50% from 2010. Since 2013, absolute case-load has decreased (6,245 cases were reported in 2016) owing to significant control efforts. A number of factors are likely to have contributed to this fall in numbers, however, one of which is the natural epidemiological trend of VL.
The department overseeing India’s VL strategy is the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP). Major components of the stretegy have been the introduction of single day AmBisome treatment and the change of insecticides. KalaCORE was responsible for rolling out of the first component. In early 2017, the NVBDCP published a new roadmap for the elimination of VL in India as a public health problem in the ‘Accelerated Plan for Kala-Azar Elimination’).
As the 2017 elimination target approaches, there is an increasing sense of political urgency for this goal to be met. It has become clear was that there also needs to be a focus on sustaining elimination targets so that a resurgence does not occur in the mid-long term; or if it does, that cases are detected early and managed appropriately.
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