A child who was inflicted with visceral leishmaniasis, also known as kala-azar, has been treated in a local health facility for the first time in Bajura district.

The 14-month-old child from Supani in Swamikartik Khapar Rural Municipality-2 of the district, who had been suffering from fever in the past month and was later diagnosed with kala-azar in Kolti Primary Health Centre (PHC), successfully recovered from the ailment, informed Dr Raju Raj Jaishi, chief of the health facility.

The ailing child was admitted to the PHC and was treated with 'AmBisome' (Amphotericin B), added Dr Jaisi while adding that after the availability of the medication at the centre, patients diagnosed with kala-azar will not have to be referred to other facilities outside the district.

The treatment of kala-azar in the district has brought immense benefits to the locals. If a patient was to be referred to other facilities, they would have incurred at least Rs 20,000 in treatment, claimed Aamejung Shahi, Public Health Inspector at the district. Many kala-azar patients have been referred to other districts before this, added Shahi.

The number of kala-azar patients in the district has been increasing in the recent years. A 17-month-old child from Jagannath Rural Municipality-5 was diagnosed with the affliction at Kolti Primary Health Centre only some months ago. He was later referred to Nepalgunj for further treatment.

The infliction is caused by protozoan Leishmania parasites which are transmitted by the bite of infected female phlebotomine sandflies and will have symptoms including fever, weight loss, adverse effects on the liver, and can also result in death if it progresses to other parts of the body, said Dr Rupchandra Bishwakarma, Chief of District Hospital, Bajura.

Last year, three persons were diagnosed with kala-azar with one of them losing their life after being referred to a Kathmandu-based hospital, informed Kolti Primary Health Centre.

Areas around Budhinanda Municipality, Swamikartik Khapar, Himali and Jagannath Rural Municipalities are the risk areas in the district, informed District Health Office, Bajura while adding that cases of malaria were also witnessed here some years back.