World Leprosy Day

World Leprosy Day is observed internationally on January 30 or its nearest Sunday to increase the public awareness of the Leprosy or Hansen’s Disease. This day was chosen in commemoration of the death of Gandhi, the leader of India who understood the importance of leprosy.

With over 2 lakh new cases of leprosy reported each year on an average globally.

WHO says national programmes should boost active case-fining, strengthen surveillance, improve contact-tracing and focus more on the global target of zero child infection by 2020.

Leprosy was globally declared to have been ” eliminated as a public health problem” 18 years ago.

Leprosy is caused by infection with the bacillus Mycobacterium leprae, which multiplies very slowly in the human body. The bacterium has a long incubation period (on average 5 years or longer). The disease affects nerve endings and destroys the body’s ability to feel pain & injury.

Data published by WHO in 2017 show that although the overall number of cases is slowly declining, that of new cases does not align with global efforts and resources deployed to interrupt transmission.

Reports from 145 countries of WHO’s six regions show that of the total of 216108 newly diagnosed cases of leprosy during 2016, 18472 involved children, representing almost 9% of all new cases reported annually.

Leprosy is curable and treatment provided in the early stages eliminate disability.

Multidrug therapy is made available free of change through WHO and has been donated to all patients worldwide by Novartis since 2000. It provides a simple yet highly effective care for all types of leprosy.

Source : WHO

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