World Leprosy Day meant to spread ‘leprosy is curable’ message
On the eve of the World Leprosy Day which is observed on the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the deputy chief medical officer (CMO) Haridwar, Dr H D Shakya, said, “The early diagnosis of the disease can easily help it be cured with the intake of medicine for three days. As per our observation, 90% of the cases are cured with medicines. However, if the diagnosis is late, the chances of deformity become more.”
‘Touch me not’ treatment was being meted out to leprosy- afflicted patients till recently as the people were inclined to believe that the disease was transmitted by contact. But now, it is a well-established fact that the possibility of transmission is from the respiratory route. Free of cost multi- drug therapy is available at all the government dispensaries, health centres and hospitals to provide complete treatment to the leprosy-afflicted, Shakya said and added that the Centre has made available the multi- drug leprosy treatment (NLEP), free of cost. “The message needs to be spread on the World Leprosy Day. Such a dread of transmission through contact is still prevailing in the rural areas,” he said.
According to a study, leprosy had affected over two lakh people globally in 2015 of which 60% had been in India.
The other high-burden countries were Brazil and Indonesia. Of the new cases, 8.9% were children and 6.7% presented with visible deformities.
The observance of the day is meant to make the people aware of the fact that leprosy does not spread through touch. Shakya said, “Despite efforts by the World Health Organisation across the world, many people continue to suffer from the curable disease due to lack of access to basic medical care and continued stigma sticking to the illness. We are still getting new cases of leprosy in Haridwar. It is unfortunate that the number of leprosy patients in Uttarakhand is still very high.”
Ashish Gautam of Divya Prem Sewa Mission said, “When I started the mission of helping the leprosy patients and their children in education, I realised that the major challenge was the continued stigma sticking to the disease which led to delay in providing treatment. And it leads to complications. Awareness on a massive scale can ease things out for us who are engaged in helping the leprosy-afflicted patients and their near ones.”
Wednesday, 30 January 2019 | PNS | Haridwar
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