Building Awareness Vital To Preventing, Treating Leishmaniasis
The Conversation: Leishmaniasis needs more attention: it causes skin lesions, and can kill
Ramona Hurdayal, lecturer and team leader at the Leishmaniasis Research Group at the University of Cape Town, and Raphael Taiwo Aruleba, PhD candidate at the University of Cape Town
“…Leishmaniasis was first identified in the 1900s. Since then significant progress has been made in diagnosis, treatment, and overall management. But, despite all efforts there’s still no vaccine. Which is why the WHO considers it a neglected disease of the world — under-funded and under-researched by both private and public organizations … Beyond the therapies, the next important area of work is integrating awareness to prevent and manage the spread of the disease. … [P]reventative measures … must be strengthened. … In line with this, the WHO has targeted neglected diseases, including leishmaniasis, for control and elimination by 2030. This roadmap is being implemented to achieve the health-related 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development goals, together with policymakers, governments, NGOs, philanthropists, stakeholders, industries, and essentially, the general public. The starting point is that prevention is better than cure. Central to this theme is awareness — in endemic areas as well as more broadly. But, to build this awareness, we need a wider platform to reach a larger audience, both public and private” (7/14).