Leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease (HD), is a chronic infection caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae, 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.
Three thousand new cases of leprosy are found in the country every year despite the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared Nepal leprosy-free five years ago.
According to the statistics provided by the Leprosy Division at the Department of Health Services, 3,223 leprosy patients have been found in the country in the last fiscal year.
Leprosy is a communicable disease.
Similarly, in the fiscal year 2012/13, around 3,253 new patients were found.
The government has been providing free medicines to the people suffering from this ailment.
Director of the Division, Dr Chudamani Bhandari informed that the government has been providing financial aid and physical infrastructure to the leprosy patients if they ousted from the society.
Earlier, leprosy was considered to be the curse of God. Hence, the patients were kept in the dark fearing the hatred and humiliation from the society.
Study shows that districts like Sarlahi, Jhapa, Dhanusha, Rautahat, Mahottari, Bardiya, Parsa, Kailali, Bara and Ruphandehi see the highest number of leprosy patients.