Govt sets 2027 to eliminate leprosy in India
Dr Mansukh Mandaviya virtually addresses National Anti-Leprosy Day
National Anti-Leprosy Day was organised in New Delhi and the theme for this year’s event was “Let us fight Leprosy and make Leprosy a history.”
Union Health Minister Dr Manshukh Mandaviya said, “His vision was not only to treat them but also to mainstream them in our society. Our efforts to eliminate leprosy from this country under National Leprosy Eradication Programme is a great tribute to his vision. We are successful in achieving a prevalence rate of one case per 10,000 population at the national level in 2005. The need of the hour is consistent efforts to eliminate leprosy. It is a curable disease, however, if it is not detected and treated at the early stage, it can cause permanent disabilities and deformities among the affected person, leading to discrimination of such persons and their family members in the community.”
Accentuating on the efforts of the National Leprosy Eradication Programme, Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar, Union Minister of State said, “Our Leprosy Programme of the country strives to detect and treat cases as early as possible, gives treatment free of cost to prevent the development of disabilities and deformities, medical rehabilitation of those with existing deformities. The Welfare allowance has been raised from Rs 8,000 to Rs 12,000 for patients for their reconstructive surgery.”
Highlighting the achievements of the programme, she also informed that the prevalence rate of leprosy has come down from 0.69 per 10,000 population in 2014-15 to 0.45 in 2021-22. Further, the annual new case detection rate per 100,000 population has come down from 9.73 in 2014-15 to 5.52 in 2021-22.
“The programme also works towards spreading awareness and reducing the stigma attached to the disease. Surveillance was also strengthened by introducing ASHA-based Surveillance for Leprosy Suspects (ABSULS) where grassroots-level workers constantly engaged in examining and reporting suspects. The special emphasis under the Focused Leprosy Campaign (FLC) was given to areas that were difficult to access or had child cases and cases with disabilities. Since 2015, with the constant efforts under NLEP, we have been able to prevent many cases of disability due to leprosy”, she added. She also emphasised the need to spread awareness of the stigma connected to leprosy.
Emphasising the 2027 leprosy eradication target, S Gopalakrishnan, Special Secretary, Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare noted that the last mile target of 2027 is going to be tougher than what has been achieved so far. But with the experiences, whole of government and whole of society approach, new strategies and the Nikusth 2.0 portal, we can achieve it.