Most of the people have never heard about Leishmania donovani. I am sure you know about malaria. Leishmaniasis is similar to malaria but it is more deadly. Once you are infected with Leishmania donovani and they over come your immune system, you will face certain death unless treated properly. Unfortunately available drugs are very toxic and they can kill ~5% of patients.
Why Leishmania is not known to us? Partly because it kills voiceless poor people whose local government is not functioning. For instance, Bihar, India is the epicenter of the L.d. epidemic. In many part of the most affected regions, the doctors do not have enough resources and public officials are corrupt. The situation was described in my previous entry. For example, our institute sent new promising drugs for clinical trials under an EU funded project. A year later, no local clinic has received the drugs yet. When our clinician asked about the situation, local Indian officials told “Are you saying we are stealing the drugs?”. The officials complained this to a higher ranking local officials, who told us that this was none of our business. So probably these drugs are sold in black markets and they are used with a wrong dosage, which would generate drug resistant parasites and can make drugs useless even before they become available to real clinicians.
Is it worth to help them out? Or are we just arrogantly try to “help out” people whose official do not care the welfare of the people. Science can help to solve the problems of neglected diseases but it cannot improve corrupted and non-functional public service. Even if the diseases are eliminated from these regions, dirty water, poor sanitary condition and dangerous traffic will keep prematurely killing many villagers.
Probably these are unnecessary worries of outsiders since they seem to enjoying their own life. Who need iPod when they can listen to wild birds and mingle with animals under a plenty of sunshine?
To be continued …