Despite the World Health Organization’s (WHO) target to eradicate leprosy by 2020, around 3,000 new leprosy patients are diagnosed in Nepal every year.
A total of 3,215 new leprosy patients were identified this year alone. Though the government announced leprosy eradication in 2010 the increasing number of leprosy patients in the country has become a challenge, warned the people working in the field.
According to training coordinator of Ananda Ban Hospital Gopal Pokharel, more women and children have been afflicted with the disease. This year alone, 220 new patients under 14 years of age have been identified. “This disease gets transferred to other from the patient who does not intake medicine,” Pokharel said.
The government had declared eradication of leprosy for less than one percent of prevalence out of 10,000 population seven years ago. Rabindra Banskota of Leprosy Eradication Division at the Department of Health Service said that leprosy prevalence was 0.79 in every 10,000 population some seven years ago.
The leprosy prevalence rate is high in Banke, Bardia, Nawalparasi and other Tarai districts. In the fiscal year 2073/074 BS, 19.77 patients are found in every 10,000 population in these regions.
Director of the Leprosy Mission Nepal Shobhakar Kandel said leprosy in not only a social but an economic problem. “Collective efforts are required to resolve this problem,” he added. According to the division, on an average 11.23 new patients were spotted in every 100,000 population in this fiscal year.
Likewise, a total of 7,805 patients received treatment in Leprosy Mission Hospital in 2017, while 1,540 patients received the services by getting admission in the hospital.
>> Originally posted on the Kathmandu Post.