Anti-Leprosy Day was observed on 30 January 2016 nationwide to focus attention on the disease which is also known as the Hansen’s disease.
Annually, the day is celebrated in the memory of Mahatma Gandhi, who attained martyrdom on 30 January 1948, in order to re-memorize his selfless efforts and care for the people affected by the infectious disease leprosy.
Objectives of Celebrating Anti-Leprosy Day
• To raise the leprosy awareness among people
• To offer help to those affected by disease through the regular and free of cost treatment they need
• To make the diseased person psychologically strong and help them to cope up with physical impairments of skin sores and nerve damage
• To ascertain that all affected persons are getting the necessary treatment, rehabilitation and care or not
• To estimate the marked decrease or increase in the rate of spreading disease
About Leprosy Disease
• Leprosy also known as Hansen's disease (HD), is a chronic infection caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae and Mycobacterium lepromatosis. Initially, infections are without symptoms and typically remain this way for 5 to as long as 20 years.
• Symptoms that develop include granulomas of the nerves, respiratory tract, skin, and eyes. This may result in a lack of ability to feel pain and thus loss of parts of extremities due to repeated injuries. Weakness and poor eyesight may also be present.
• A drug Chaulmoogra oil was used for leprosy treatment until Dapsone was discovered with anti-leprosy effects during 1940s.
• It was in 1970s when multi drug therapy (MDT) consisting of Rifampicin, Clofazimine and Dapsone were identified as cure for leprosy which came into wide use from 1982 following the recommendations of WHO.
Facts about Leprosy in India
• Leprosy is particularly prevalent among the poorest and most marginalised communities due to their lack of access to healthcare, poor sanitation and congested living spaces.
• As on 1 April 2013, 33 out of 35 States/Union Territories have eliminated leprosy, that is, the prevalence rate is below one case per 10000 populations. Also as of March 2013, 528 districts (81.4%) out of total 649 districts achieved the elimination target.
India’s success story in eliminating Leprosy
• 1955: National Leprosy Control Programme launched
• 1983: National Leprosy Eradication Programme launched
• 1983: Introduction of Multi-Drug Therapy (MDT) in phases
• 2005: Elimination of Leprosy at National level achieved on 31 December 2005 with prevalence rate of 0.95 per 10000 populations. Less than one case per 10000 populations is the globally-accepted level of elimination.
• March 2011: Prevalence rate stood at 0.69 per 10000 populations
• 2012 - Special action plan for 209 high endemic districts in 16 States/UTs launched
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