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More On Kala Azar

Gatwich (not his real name) is 1 ½ years old. He has been sick for 2 weeks with fever, cough and weight loss. His mother carried him for 3 hours to the MSF hospital in Lankien. Gatwich tips the scales at only 7.3 kg; he should weigh almost 12 kg.

Gatwich (not his real name) is 1 ½ years old. He has been sick for 2 weeks with fever, cough and weight loss. His mother carried him for 3 hours to the MSF hospital in Lankien. Gatwich tips the scales at only 7.3 kg; he should weigh almost 12 kg. He is weak and wasted with an enlarged spleen and lymph nodes. Gatwich is diagnosed with Kala Azar, Because of his age and malnourished state, he is particularly at risk of dying. We admit him into the Kala Azar treatment program where he receives vitamins, nutritional support and specific anti-parasitic treatment.

Gatwich's treatment course is not smooth. He develops bloody diarrhea from a bowel infection. Kala Azar suppresses the immune system and makes him more susceptible to all kinds of infectious agents. These infections are often the final cause of death.

At the end of 2 weeks Gatwich is finished his medication for Kala Azar and he has improved, but he is far from healthy. Although his fevers and diarrhea have stopped he is still severely malnourished. He is transferred to MSF's Therapeutic Feeding Program, where he continues to receive nutritional support and is monitored for weight gain.

Gatwich starts to gain weight slowly. His mother, who originally looked tired and hopeless, is starting to smile.