Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Is leprosy making its way back to India?

Must read

Even though the country has been implementing a comprehensive leprosy control programme, which has successfully reduced the overall prevalence of the disease.

However, the steady increase in the number of new cases in recent years has raised concerns about the effectiveness of the current control measures.

Leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, is a chronic infectious disease caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae. It affects the skin, nerves, and mucous membranes, causing discoloration, numbness, and disfigurement.Although leprosy is curable with a multi-drug therapy (MDT) regimen, the disease remains a public health concern in many parts of the world, particularly in India.

Leprosy remains a significant public health concern in India.The resurgence of the disease in recent years highlights the need for continued efforts to control its spread.This includes increasing awareness about the disease, reducing social stigma, and improving the health services provided to leprosy patients.By working together, we can effectively control the spread of leprosy in India and improve the lives of those affected by this debilitating disease.

India has the highest global burden of leprosy, with over 130,000 new cases reported in 2020 alone. Even though the country has been implementing a comprehensive leprosy control programme since the 1980s, which has successfully reduced the overall prevalence of the disease. However, the steady increase in the number of new cases in recent years has raised concerns about the effectiveness of the current control measures.

Dr. Saranya Narayan, Technical Director and Chief Microbiologist, Neuberg Diagnostics, shares, “One of the main reasons for the resurgence of leprosy in India is the lack of awareness about the disease among the general population. Many people do not recognise leprosy’s early signs and symptoms, leading to delayed diagnosis and treatment.

This, in turn, increases the risk of transmission to others and leads to more severe and disabling forms of the disease. Another factor contributing to the resurgence of leprosy in India is the social stigma associated with the disease. People affected by leprosy often face discrimination and exclusion from their communities, which makes it difficult for them to access health services and support.This further exacerbates the problem, as people who are afraid of being shunned may be hesitant to seek treatment.”

The government of India has been working to address these issues by increasing awareness about leprosy and promoting early diagnosis and treatment. The National Leprosy Eradication Program (NLEP) has provided free MDT to all leprosy patients and provides disability and rehabilitation services to those affected by the disease.

Furthermore, the government is also working to reduce the social stigma associated with leprosy by educating the public about the condition and its transmission.The NLEP was discontinued because it was thought Leprosy was under control, i.e.<1 per 100,000 people, and after this, thanks to Covid, healthcare workers in the Leprosy area were deployed to help with the pandemic. These two are contributing factors that have led to India continuing to be the largest contributor to cases worldwide.

However, there’s still a lot more that needs to be done to control the spread of leprosy in India effectively.One important strategy is to improve the quality of health services provided to leprosy patients. This includes training health workers to recognise the disease’s early signs and symptoms and providing them with the necessary tools and resources to diagnose and treat it.

Another important strategy is to strengthen the surveillance and monitoring of leprosy cases.This will help identify areas where leprosy is more prevalent and target control measures in those areas. It will also help track the disease’s progress and evaluate the effectiveness of the control measures.

- Advertisement -spot_img

More articles

- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest article