Clarification on erroneous media reports about kala azar incidence in Bihar

This is to clarify that Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in India has not issued any report quoting the incidence rate of Kala Azar in Bihar or other endemic areas in India. For recent updates and more information on MSF’s work on Kala Azar, please contact Pujya Pascal, Advocacy Coordinator, +919910944506.

MSF has been on the frontline of diagnosing and treating Kala Azar in Vaishali district of Bihar and has treated more than 12,000 patients since 2007. Historically, Bihar has been the epicenter of Kala Azar in India, contributing nearly 80-90% of the total cases of Kala Azar ( However, the National Kala Azar Elimination Programme is now firmly on the grounds, which is focused on bringing down the incidence rate to 1 case per 10,000 population at the sub-district level ( With the availability of the new first-line treatment, elimination of the disease is no more a pipe dream.  

As part of the KalaCORE* consortium, MSF continues to extend its support to the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, State Health Society, Bihar and the Rajendra Memorial Research Institute in the drive to eliminate Kala Azar and contribute to improving the health status of at-risk populations living in endemic areas in India.

On August 24, 2015, MSF handed over its 30-bed primary Kala Azar Ward in Sadar Hospital, Hajipur (Vaishali district) to the Bihar state health authorities. It will continue to maintain a partial presence in Vaishali’s Sadar hospital, focusing on the diagnosis and treatment of HIV-Kala Azar coinfected patients. (link to PR)

*KalaCORE consortium is dedicated to control and elimination of Visceral Leishmaniasis or Kala Azar in South Asia. Appointed by the Department of International Development as part of a programme funded by UK aid, KalaCORE comprises experts from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Drugs for Negelcted Diseases initiative, Médecins Sans Frontières and Mott MacDonald.

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