Dealing with Zambia's Bilharzia Burden
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In 1851 Tudor Bilharz, a German physician working in Kasr EI Aini, discovered the bilharzia worm while performing a postmortem on a young patient. The Egyptians realized, in 1911 that if this disease continued in Egypt, the country's future would be in peril. It is only now that the rest of the world is coming to realize the potential Bilharzia has to wreck destruction and despair if not addressed. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that efforts to achieve the millennium development goals (MDGs) should prioritize intensified control of the neglected tropical diseases. Of these neglected maladies, those found in Zambia include Schistosomiasis, intestinal parasites, Trachoma, Lymphatic Filariasis (elephantiasis), Leprosy and Human African Trypanosomiasis (Sleeping Sickness). Their control will contribute directly to reduction of the communicable disease burden (Goal 6) and indirectly to efforts to reduce poverty and hunger (Goal 1). 2 These diseases are referred to as neglected because they have not garnered the international notoriety of diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. These three are responsible for a huge number of deaths in Africa. However, the neglected tropical diseases effect one sixth of the world population and cause immense suffering, lifelong disabilities and contribute to poverty though they rarely kill. Thus under the public health radar, these neglected diseases have thrived in poor countries like Zambia. They have wreaked disease and despair on our poor marginalized populations that all too often are living in the rural outposts of low-income countries.
CitationKachimba, J.S. Mwansa, J.C.L. (2007). Dealing with Zambia's Bilharzia Burden. Medical Journal of Zambia. 34 (4)
SponsorshipOffice of Global AIDS/US Department of State.
Medical Journal of Zambia
Control of the neglected tropical diseases which include Bilharzia in Zambia
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