Visceral leishmaniasis finds a home among the tents of displacement

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“Leishmaniasis, the second killer after malaria threatens the lives of children in the camps of northern Syria,” a phrase that reveals the hidden suffering experienced by families in the camps in northwestern Syria, and puts the mother of the child, Magda, who suffers from “visceral leishmaniasis” in a constant state of fear of losing her daughter.

The sand fly, known as “Sheikh Saket” or “Skeet,” which is responsible for transmitting the Leishmania parasite, finds in the northern Syrian camps a suitable environment to live and transmit the disease to put the four-year-old girl Magda in a confrontation with the threat of death.

Magda and her family live in a camp in the countryside of Idlib, in an environment suitable for the spread of any disease, and she complains about the bad environment that surrounds the camp residents.

Camps are an incubating environment for Shamania

The girl’s mother said that days after they moved to the camp, she noticed a noticeable swelling in her daughter’s abdomen, which coincided with her having a fever that lasted for days, adding that the family had difficulty obtaining the correct diagnosis of the disease, as it was not a common disease.

The medical supervisor of the Mentor Initiative, Alaa Bakour, said that the “visceral leishmaniasis” disease, which is currently prevalent in the northern Syrian camps, is transmitted through the bite of a female sand fly that bites the child, and the parasite “visceral leishmaniasis” enters his body, which migrates to the viscera and attacks the bone marrow. The erythrocyte factory, the liver, and the spleen.

The sandfly lives in damp, dark and warm places, and its spread increases, and the chance of leishmaniasis transmission through it is caused by many factors, most notably open sewage, dirt, and population density because, after being infected, a person becomes a focus or repository of leishmaniasis, according to what Bakur said.

The World Health Organization is


 Visceral leishmaniasis is 95% fatal if left untreated

The treatment journey.. its obstacles

Magda has completed the first stage of treatment, but the poor living conditions are prolonging her treatment journey, her mother said.

The camps in northwestern Syria are witnessing massive overcrowding, shortages of food and water, and inadequate waste and sewage management. These conditions pose a greater threat to the lives of people with leishmaniasis, according to the World Health Organization.

The percentage of the deficit in response to the camps in northern Syria is 47% in the food security sector, 58% in the water sector, and 77% in the health and nutrition sector, according to


 "Response Coordinators Team".


a report

 The United Nations previously reported that pollution of water sources, caused by deteriorating infrastructure, and sewage flooding, directly and profoundly affected the health of citizens in northwest Syria, and that latrines in displacement camps did not meet minimum humanitarian standards.

The Syria Response Coordinators team documented more than 200 camps in northwest Syria, where potable water is not permanently available.

 The director of the “Response Coordinators” team considered that the lack of water in the camps in northwestern Syria is one of the most important causes of the spread of epidemics and diseases, as insects will spread if the water tanks in the camps dry out significantly.

Despite the awareness about leishmaniasis, doctors are still “scathed” due to cases of poisoning and infections resulting from what is known as folk medicine, according to what Bakour said.

The doctor also recommended to the people in the camps in northern Syria not to resort to any non-academic treatments, and to review the medical centers in the event of symptoms of the disease.

Leishmaniasis treatment is available in medical centers free of charge, but eliminating it and limiting its spread requires radical solutions by providing cooling means, closing sewage collection places, and providing water and food to the people of northern Syria.