Cutaneous leishmaniasis is a skin infection caused by a parasite transmitted by the bite of a phlebotomine sandfly. It is common in Pakistan, particularly amongst poor, both urban and rural populations in Balochistan and Khyber Paktunkhwa provinces. The disease is characterised by lesions on the face or any other part of the body which can result in disfiguring scars. It is easily treated by injections of either meglumine antimoniate or sodium stibogluconate, but these medications are not always available in health facilities, as treating the disease is not considered a public health priority in Pakistan.
MSF treats patients with cutaneous leishmaniasis at seven specialist facilities in the cities of Quetta, Kuchlak in Balochistan and Peshawar and Bannu in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, providing them with safe and effective treatment and our teams in Balochistan also provide mental health support for the cutaneous leishmaniasis patients. MSF teams also increase awareness in local communities about how to prevent and treat the disease.
In 2021, MSF teams treated almost 6,159 patients with cutaneous leishmaniasis, curing 99 per cent of them.