PESHAWAR               -        The Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), also known as Doctors without Borders

has opened a diagnostic and treatment centre in collaboration with the department of health for the patients of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis at the district headquarters (DHQ) hospital, Bannu. The medical facility

will provide fully free services for Cutaneous Leishmaniasis, and aims to treat 250 to 300 patients

every month.Cutaneous Leishmaniasis

(CL) is parasitic tropical

skin disease that is transmitted through the bite of a phlebotomine sand fly. It is endemic in some parts of Pakistan and characterised by lesions

on the exposed body part, such as the face, hands or feet. Although not life threatening, the lesions could cause severe

physical disfigurement,

leading to stigma and discrimination.MSF Country Representative

Dr. Isabelle said at the inauguration ceremony

of the CL treatment centre held at DHQ hospital

on Wednesday, “we are happy to start services for CL in collaboration with the department of health. The centre will cater to the needs of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis

patients from the southern districts of Khyber

Pakhtunkhwa. We look forward to the work with all the stakeholders, including department of health, local authorities and the community

to provide the much needed care to the patients of this skin disease.”According to WHO, in five years from 2014 to 2018, over all 184,915 cases of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis were reported

from Pakistan. In these years, there were more than 92,000 cases in whole of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,

including the merged districts. The first-line treatment for CL is the meglumine antimoniate

mostly known with its brand name Glucantime.

It is not often available for the people. The MSF also donated drugs to the department of health to respond to an outbreak of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis in 2019.The new centre in Bannu is MSF’s second CL facility in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa after its first centre in Naseerullah

Babar Memorial

Hospital in Peshawar. Since its opening in May 2018, it received patients from over 25 districts. The centre provided treatment to over 4,500 patients of CL since its opening. The MSF also has three other CL centres in Quetta, Balochistan.

“We are committed to providing quality care to the patients of this neglected

tropical disease. The medical intervention by MSF supports the health system by providing CL patients

the specialized treatment

facilities, ensuring a steady supply of safe and effective medication, as well as increasing awareness

about treatment and