Left Menu
Development News Edition

Over 200K cases of leprosy world wide, India accounts more than half of them: WHO

Devdiscourse News Desk | Delhi | Updated: 25-01-2019 18:02 IST | Created: 25-01-2019 16:44 IST
Over 200K cases of leprosy world wide, India accounts more than half of them: WHO
"Leprosy-related discrimination, stigma and prejudice are the most powerful barriers to ending leprosy for good, especially given the disease is 100 per cent curable when detected early.

Around 2 lakh leprosy cases continue to be reported every year in the world with India accounting for more than half of them, the WHO said Friday, adding leprosy-related "discrimination, stigma and prejudice" were the most powerful barriers in ending the disease.

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 per cent 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 centre 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 mobilisation 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. "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 prioritised, 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... "In 2016, for example, it repealed the draconian colonial-era Lepers Act, while earlier this month it repealed a law allowing leprosy as legitimate grounds for divorce. Both initiatives are to be commended," she said.

WHO's South-East Asia Region comprises Bangladesh, Bhutan, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor-Leste. Singh also congratulated WHO Goodwill Ambassador and chairman of the Nippon Foundation Yohei Sasakawa on being awarded the 2018 International Gandhi Peace Prize for his contribution to ending leprosy in India and across the world.


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Post-COVID-19 Nigeria needs a robust Health Management Information System to handle high disease burden

Nigeria is among a few countries that conceptualised a health management information system HMIS in the early 90s but implementation has been a challenge till date. Besides COVID-19, the country has a huge burden of communicable and non-com...

Morocco COVID-19 response: A fragile health system and the deteriorating situation

Learning from its European neighbors, Morocco imposed drastic measures from the initial stages of the COVID-19 outbreak to try to contain its spread. The strategy worked for a few months but the cases have surged after mid-June. In this sit...

COVID-19: Argentina’s health system inefficiencies exaggerate flaws of health information system

You can recover from a drop in the GDP, but you cant recover from death, was the straightforward mindset of Argentinas President Alberto Fernndez and defined the countrys response to COVID-19. The South American nation imposed a strict...

Rwanda’s COVID-19 response commendable but health information system needs improvement

Rwanda is consistently working to improve its health information system from many years. However, it is primarily dependent on the collection and reporting of health data on a monthly basis. Besides, evaluation studies on Rwandas HIS publis...

Videos

Latest News

Officials from Australia, Japan, US, India, focus on sharing best practices to combat COVID-19

Senior officials from the Ministry of External Affairs of India, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and the US Department of State in a video conference on Friday spoke about the impor...

Farmers hold protests in C'garh against farm sector bills

Despite lockdown in several districts of Chhattisgarh, farmers staged demonstrations outside their houses and agriculture lands in various villages and towns of the state on Friday as a part of the bandh call given to protest three farm sec...

Mathura Police sets up 6 temporary outposts

Six temporary police outposts have been set up at strategic points in Uttar Pradeshs Mathura district to keep a check on the movement of criminals and control crime, officials said on Friday. While four police outposts have been set up unde...

Maha: Dhangar community protests in Latur for ST status

Dhangar community members onFriday beat drums during a protest in Latur in Maharashtra todemand Scheduled Tribe statusThey assembled in front of the collectorate anddemanded that the government issue an ordinance to give thecommunity ST sta...

Give Feedback