ISGlobal and the University of Fez organized a meeting of experts on Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL) in Morocco. The meeting, held at the École Nationale de Santé Publique in Rabat the 10th of June 2014, is part of a project funded by the Thrasher Research Fund: "Improving the management of paediatric visceral leishmaniasis in Morocco". This project is a collaboration between the CRESIB —an ISGlobal research centre—, the Association pour le Développement de la Recherche Clinique et de l'Epidémiologie (ADRECE) and the Faculté de Médecine et de Pharmacie in Fez. Moroccan VL experts from the ministry of health, the leishmaniasis reference laboratory (Institut National d'Hygiène), the university and hospitals treating paediatric cases participated in the meeting.
The information provided by the experts will be used to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of implementing alternative diagnostic tests and treatments for paediatric VL compared to current practices in Morocco.
Visceral leishmaniasis, also known as kala-azar, is a poverty-related parasitic disease transmitted by sand flies. VL is usually fatal if not treated and causes 20 to 40 thousand deaths per year worldwide. In the Mediterranean basin VL is caused by Leishmania infantum and affects primarily children living in poor rural areas. Morocco is endemic for VL and around 150 incident cases are reported each year.