KOHAT: The contagious leishmaniasis disease has affected hundreds of people, including children and elderly, in the Lachi tehsil and several adjoining villages. The disease is caused from a bite by sand fly.

The affected people have been left with scars on the face and other body parts.

When contacted, Dr Haroon Khan, the focal person on the disease, told Dawn on Sunday that the sand fly parasite had come from Afghanistan and Balochistan during the war against terrorism as earlier there was no sign of it in the country.

He said presently 150 patients were undergoing long treatment of taking 18 to 20 injections after every two weeks. He said the scars remained on the skin for over a year.

Dr Haroon said it was possible to control the spread of the disease by killing the female phlebotomine sand fly which caused the infection, but the government lacked the resources.

He said teams should be mobilised to fumigate mountains, ponds, forests and fields.

He said the affected people also were reluctant to take injections due to a lack of awareness, thus causing its transmission to others.

He said an impression was being created that Lachi had been ignored, which was not true, adding the disease spread because the local people did not take the patients to the basic health centres and the Type-D Tehsil Headquarters Hospital.

In a separate development, an elder from Zarghun Khel tribe of Darra Adamkhel tribal subdivision has demanded of the deputy commissioner to issue him a no objection certificate for possession of his coal-producing mountain and the land occupied by the land grabbers.

Addressing a news conference at the Kohat Press Club accompanied by his children on Sunday, Payo Khan said he had been running from pillar to post since 2014 to get his mountain and land vacated from the land grabbers in Zor Kalay area, but to no avail.

He claimed the Peshawar High Court and the Kohat divisional commissioner had given verdicts in his favor, but a local official was creating impediment in the way of allotment of the land to him.

He appealed to the Chief Justice of Pakistan to order the Kohat administration for issuance of NOC to him.

Published in Dawn, May 24th, 2021

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