The World Health Organization has announced the development a new drug for the treatment of leishmaniasis, or black fever. Until now there's been no effective treatment for the disease, which is caused by the bite of the sand fly.

Experts say leishmaniasis kills over sixty thousand people every year, mostly in the poorest regions of the world.

Dr. Philippe Desjeux (day-zher) is in charge of the leishmaniasis control program at the World Health Organization. He says the new drug - known as Miltefosine - is a breakthrough in the effort to improve the lives of the poor in the affected areas of over eight-eight countries.

He says the drug is ninety-five percent effective in treating the disease. He says the drug was originally manufactured to treat certain skin cancers before tests proved it's effectiveness on black fever. English to Africa reporter Chinedu Offor asked Dr. Desjeux what is special about the new drug.

Click the above links to listen or download Offor interview.