The cases of leprosy have declined in the recent past years yet more than 2 lacs cases are been observed worldwide. The questionable remark found is that more 50% of the worldwide case is been found alone in India only. The vulnerability of these disease has been a prime concern for the World Health Organisation.
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According To World Health Organisation:
WHO regional director for South-East Asia Poonam Khetrapal Singh also lauded India for repealing two legislations – one that discriminated against persons affected by leprosy and another which allowed leprosy as legitimate grounds for divorce. She said significant numbers are detected in the South-East Asia region, Brazil, sub-Saharan Africa, and the Pacific.
“Leprosy-related discrimination, stigma, and prejudice are the most powerful barriers to ending leprosy for good, especially given the disease is 100% curable when detected early. Though the number of leprosy cases has steadily declined worldwide, an estimated 2,00,000 cases continue to be reported every year, with India accounting for more than half,” Singh said.
The official said as core public health interventions like active case-finding, improved treatment regimens, and strengthened surveillance continue to drive-down leprosy’s incidence and spread, the disease’s bio-social components must be brought to the fore.
“As outlined in WHO’s Global Leprosy Strategy 2016-2020, policies that promote inclusion and aim at ending leprosy-related discrimination, stigma, and prejudice should be front and center of all leprosy programmes, both as goods in themselves as well as powerful tools to achieve a leprosy-free region and world,” she said.
Stressing on empowering people with leprosy to be “agents of social change”, Singh said this could include training them in advocacy and social mobilization to enhance community buy-in and secure high-level support and funding for leprosy programmes. “It could also include helping them form psycho-social support networks to reduce emotional and economic distress, thereby promoting the active participation of persons affected by leprosy in society,” she said.
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“While the inclusion of leprosy-affected persons in vocational training is already underway in most endemic countries, these programmes should be expanded wherever possible. As part of this, clear information on how they can be accessed should be made available to every eligible person, thereby ensuring no one is left behind,” she said.
Human rights of persons affected by leprosy must be prioritized, she added. Notably, in recent years India, along with other countries in the Region and beyond, has repealed legislation that discriminates against persons affected by leprosy.
What is Leprosy?
Leprosy, also known as Hansen’s Disease is a chronic infectious disease caused by the microbe named Mycobacterium leprae. The disease mainly affects the skin, the peripheral nerves, mucosal surfaces of the upper respiratory tract and the eyes. This disease is susceptible to all age person.
The exact reason behind the transmission or spread is still unknown but it is believed that this disease is transferable from an infected person to a healthy person through touch or intimate contact.
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Leprosy cases have been increasing over the past many years but with the help of WHO and other activists, the numbers were controlled. Yet India has been widely susceptible to this disease. It is expected that soon this chronic infectious will vanish from its roots.
News Source: The Wire
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