Number of Leishmaniasis cases dropped in 2014 due to enhanced efforts

Damascus, SANA – Minister of Higher Education Mohammad Amer al-Mardini said Thursday the number of leishmaniasis cases dropped to 53,000 in 2014 compared with 71,000 in 2013 due to the enhanced government efforts seeking to fight the disease.

The Minister was talking during a Scientific Day held by the Dermatology and Venereology Hospital in Damascus. Resident Representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Syria Elizabeth Hoff attended the event, which discussed advanced methods and techniques to treat leishmaniasis.

He noted that 2012-2013 witnessed an increase in the number of leishmaniasis cases compared with the previous years due to the growing displacement and congestion of population caused by the current crisis in the country.

Highlighting the increased attention paid to the disease, Mardini said the number of MA dissertations related to leishmaniasis has reached 29, in addition to 3 PhD dissertations.

He also pointed out to the increased number of Medicine faculties at the Syrian universities, reaching 10, adding that a total of 1663 doctors and 347 higher study students in different specialities graduated last year.

For her part, Hoff hailed the success which the Health Ministry-led leishmaniasis combating program made in containing the disease. The program includes providing early diagnosis and treatment services.

According to the WHO, about 14 million people are currently infected with leishmaniasis around the world, and 350 million others are living in regions with high risk of infection.

Manar al-Frieh/Haifa Said

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