Leprosy cases prevail despite eradication bidDespite repeated attempts from stakeholders, leprosy cases have not been eradicated in the district. Currently, the District Public Health Office (DPHO) has 98 leprosy patients in contact.
In a programme organised to mark the 62nd Leprosy Day on Saturday, stakeholders said the misconception about the disease and the tendency to hide it due to fear of social exclusion have been major factors for prevalence of the disease till date.
Participants of the programme said the government’s target of making the country leprosy free by 2015 will only be achieved if all stakeholders make individual efforts. According to Tuberculosis and Leprosy Officer at the DPHO Sambhu Yadav, a total of 98 leprosy patients are receiving regular medication in the district.
By the end of fiscal year 2013/14, 123 new leprosy patients were identified in the district, of which 98 are currently receiving treatment. Leprosy indicator of the district is 1.5 in 10, 000 people. The government’s target is to achieve 1 or lower.
Likewise, new leprosy identification rate in the district is 19 per 100, 000 people. Among them, 8 per cent are children and 14 per cent are women. Thirty-seven of the total 82 VDCs in the district are leprosy free.
According to Yadav, leprosy patients in Pakahamainpur and Hariharpur VDCs were provided Rs 30,000 as seed money by establishing groups for Income Generation Programme. He said participatory programmes were also organised for 681 households belonging to Dalit and indigenous communities in Sonbarsha, Paterwasugauli, Bijbaniya and Auraha VDCs.
Leprosy was suspected in 28 patients during health checkups of 4, 407 people among those households. During the interaction, Dermatologist Dr Sunam Prasad said regular medication can cure any type of leprosy. Medical Superintendent of Narayani Sub-regional Hospital Dr Ramashankar Thakur said eight Tarai districts between Parsa and Saptari are at high risk of the disease. People in these districts should not consider themselves secure from this disease, he said.
DPHO chief Arun Kumar Mahato urged family members and as well as neighbours of leprosy patients to seek medical assistance. The tendency of hiding leprosy is the main obstacle in eradicating the disease, he said. Half a dozen former leprosy patients were also honoured in the programme.