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Leprosy and Nepal

by Public Health Update
Leprosy, a chronic infectious disease, still remains a threat in 14 districts even two years after the government declared that the disease is eliminated from the country. The government had declared the elimination of leprosy on 19 January 2010 following the decline of the cases to 0.89 per 10,000 populations. The World Health Organization (WHO) considers a disease is eliminated in a country once the number of cases drops to less than one instance per 10,000 people. At the end of the fiscal year 2010/11, the prevalence of the disease is 0.79. But, according to a government data, the disease is still found in 1 percent or more per 10,000 people in Jhapa, Morang, Sunsari, Dhanusa, Sarlahi, Rautahat, Mahottari, Bara, Parsa, Chitwan, Rupandehi, Banke, Bardiya and Kailali districts. Also, there are around 2,210 persons under medication of the leprosy at present. “Now we are on the verge of eradicating the disease,” said Chudamani Lamichhane, director at the Leprosy Control Division, adding that Nepal can declare itself a leprosy free country once the status of the 14 districts is balanced. He also informed that the government provides free health services and Rs 1,000 transportation allowance to leprosy patients and from this fiscal year an additional amount of Rs 1,000 will also be provided to those with complicated cases. Despite many achievements, the major challenge for the government is to continue the regular services and run social rehabilitation programme for the patients, he added. “The government has just launched an income generation programme in the 19 districts but no other programme has so far been implemented,” Lamichhane said. “Leprosy is a curable disease and people should not hide it. They should instead participate in the government programme and get rid of the disease.” The government has allocated Rs 40 million in 2011/12 for the leprosy programme. 
source: ekantipur!

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