Health Minister chairs a high level meeting to eliminate Kala-azar from the country by 2023

Tags: National National News

Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya on 4 January chaired a high-level meeting with four states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and West Bengal governments to review the elimination of Kala-Azar from the country by the year 2023. 

An overview of the news

  • Health ministers of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and senior officials of West Bengal were present during the meeting.

  • India is committed to eliminate Kala-azar from the country by 2023.

  • 632 endemic blocks have already achieved elimination status with less than one case of Kala-azar per ten thousand population.

  • Only one block (Littipara) in Pakur district of Jharkhand is in the endemic category with 1.23 cases per 10,000 population.

  • The Central Government is working holistically with the State Government and other stakeholders for the eradication of Kala-azar in Jharkhand.

  • Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal have achieved the Kala-azar elimination targets at the block level.

Global status of Kala-Azar 

  • About 90 percent of global cases of kala-azar in the year 2021 were found in eight countries – Brazil, Eritrea, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan.

  • India accounts for 11.5 per cent of the total cases reported globally.

  • Bihar and Jharkhand currently account for more than 90 percent of Kala-azar cases.

What is Kala-azar?

  • It is also known as Visceral leishmaniasis (VL), black fever and Dumdum fever.

  • The disease is the second largest parasite killer in the world after Malaria.

  • It is a Neglected Tropical Disease affecting about 100 countries including India.


  • Fever, weight loss, fatigue, anaemia, and swelling of the liver and spleen.

  • Transmission

  • It is caused by protozoan parasites of the Leishmania genus.

  • It migrates to the internal organs such as the liver, spleen and bone marrow.

  • The study warns that kala-azar patients can infect others even after treatment.

National Kala-azar Eradication Program

  • India's National Health Policy, 2002, set a target of eliminating Kala-azar by 2010, which was revised in 2015.

  • Under Kala-azar eradication in India, a target of 1 case per 10,000 population was set at the sub-district level.

  • All the activities related to this program are being implemented through the National Vector Borne Disease Control Program.

  • India signed a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Bangladesh and Nepal to eliminate Kala-azar from the South-East Asia region.

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