Staff Reporter

They are more prevalent in Western Orissa districts

BHUBANESWAR: Though the State government has announced achieving elimination of leprosy in the State in 2006 quite a good number of new leprosy cases have surfaced during the past 18 months

As per the latest report, 8,814 new cases have been registered in the various healthcare centres of the State since April 2008.

As many as 14 districts of the State are now found above prescribed prevalence rate, which has been fixed at one or below one patient per 10,000 population. During the months of April, May, June and July, about 2,453 cases have been detected.

According to latest report released by the State government on Friday, leprosy cases have been more prevalent in western Orissa districts than coastal districts. The districts, which were above the prevalence rate, included Bolangir, Bargarh, Deogarh, Nuapara, Boudh, Sonepur, Koraput, Kalahandi and Mayurbhanj.

It said till the end of March this year, the leprosy prevalence rate has come down to 0.87/10,000 population. In 17 districts the leprosy elimination goal has been achieved.

“During 2008-2009, 6,381 new leprosy cases were detected and registered for treatment; 5,927 leprosy cases (old and new) were cured and discharged from records. Since 1983 8,34,036 cases have been cured with Multi Drug Therapy,” the report said.

Assistant Leprosy Officer P. K. B. Patnaik said although elimination level was achieved three years ago, one need not be complacent.

“We have to take total precautions about the disease. Like Malaria, it could bounce back if all of us continue to sit over past glory. Bureaucracy and political class should treat the disease as dangerous for achieving its eradication from the State,” Mr. Patnaik said.

In fact, ASHA karmis are detecting new leprosy cases frequently from several uncovered regions of the State. “We are coming out with a plan to provide incentives to ASHA karmis for detecting, treating and monitoring leprosy patients,” he said.

Mr. Patnaik said right now about 30,000 to 40,000 patients who have been cured by MDT required additional care.

To treat the complicated leprosy cases 13 temporary hospitalisation ward (20-bedded) and one 100-bedded leprosy hospital at Cuttack have been set up.