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Ethiopia is one of the high burden leishmaniasis countries in the world. There are two main forms of Leishmaniasis: cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) and visceral leishmaniasis (VL). Both forms of Leishmaniasis exist in Ethiopia. CL includes localized, mucocutaneous and diffuse forms and is endemic in the central highlands of Ethiopia, and it has cosmetic and psychologic consequences and may even result in disability. VL affects predominantly the productive young adults engaged in farming activities in the low land areas of the country. This disease is fatal if not treated. Its common occurrence in remote areas with poor infrastructure, difficult to access and harsh weather conditions has made the prevention and control of  VL very difficult. Although progressively decreasing with the multiple preventive measures being taken, the HIV VL co-infection is an added burden to VL treatment and control. Leishmaniasis control needs integrated efforts of insect control, health education, facilitating early case detection and treatment as well as improving the infrastructure in the endemic districts.

The Federal Ministry of Health has recognized the challenges and has been working together with partner organizations in improving the control, care and prevention of the disease.  A unit of neglected tropical disease is established under the Disease Prevention and Control Directorate. Focal person is assigned in each regional health bureaus. National guidelines were prepared and disseminated for health workers in 2013. Laboratory kits and medicines needed are made increasingly available from time to time in collaboration with supporting partners and distributed to the treatment centers.

Different training materials were prepared previously and used to train health workers practicing in the endemic regions. As it is important to update knowledge and make the medical practice evidence based, this training manual is prepared. This manual can be used both for in-service and off-service training of health workers. It is my  belief that the manual will help to cascade the training to the health workers practicing at the primary health care level and improve the patient care. Scientific knowledge needs regular updating. Thus, I would also like to remind health workers to keep up with the updated information. The Tropical and Neglected Diseases Unit will also follow up on this and provide timely updates as is relevant to our country’s situation.