Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Over 134,000 infected with leprosy in 2008-09

New Delhi, India: Nov. 24th: There were over 134,000 new leprosy infections in 2008-09 but the number is slowly decreasing in India, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said in the Rajya Sabha Tuesday.

"Leprosy related cases are not rising in the country. On the contrary, the reported cases are declining over the years," Azad said adding that his ministry has taken several steps to reduce the burden of this ailment. According to health ministry data, 260,000 leprosy cases were reported in the country during 2004-05. The year after the cases sharply dropped to 161,457 but there after the decline is relatively slow. While 139,252 cases were reported in 2006-07, in 2007-08, the number of new infections was 137,685.

In the last financial year (2008-09), 134,181 new people were infected by the disease which causes deformity in limbs and renders one handicapped. The minister said that under the National Leprosy Eradication Programme, several steps have been taken to treat and rehabilitate these patients. He said all primary health care centres and government dispensaries have been asked to provide medicine free of cost to them.

"(Government is) providing funds for non-constructive surgery services to leprosy affected persons free of cost for disability correction," Azad added.

Medical Blog: December 1st: - On 25 January 2010, an appeal will be made to the world to end the stigma which blights the lives of millions of people affected by leprosy. Launching from Mumbai in India, a country where the leprosy burden is the largest in the world and where 134,000 new cases of the disease were detected last year, the Global Appeal 2010 will be endorsed by figures from the corporate world willing to demonstrate their concern for this denial of human rights.
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