Health officials from 16 states discuss leprosy

August 5th, 2011 - 12:29 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 4 (IANS) Health secretaries of the central government and 16 Indian states with highest leprosy cases in a bid to address the menace, a statement said Thursday.

“The annual global toll due to leprosy is attributed to 16 countries and India being the highest global contributor of new cases with over 1,20,000 annual cases,” said the statement.

“The conference was aimed at discussing ways to improve the coverage of leprosy control activities ensuring that the disease burden reduces in all endemic areas,” added the statement.

In 2006, India attained the significant milestone of achieving national and state level elimination of the disease except in Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Dadar and Nagar Haveli. However, it resurfaced later and now attributes to more than 65 percent of the global burden of leprosy with 1 to 1.2 lakh new cases every year, said the statement.

Nata Menabde, WHO representative to India stated: “We believe that collaborative partnerships with international leprosy agencies and multi-sectoral coordination with other ministries are extremely important in achieving the goal of district level elimination.”

Meanwhile, sustained efforts are still required at the state and district levels though significant progress was made during the 11th Five Year Plan in reducing leprosy burden in the country from 1,69,709 cases in 2005 to 126,800 new cases in 2010, said the statement.

The government in partnership with major international leprosy agencies and WHO has developed a result-based programme for the 12th Five Year Plan to diagnose disabilities caused due to leprosy in early stages.

“About 209 districts with high number of leprosy cases will be targeted and followed up over a period of time. Innovative approaches like involvement of faith-based organisations, child-to-child approach in spreading the leprosy message, and basic screening have also been included,” said the statement.

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