BSS-04 Experts for integrated effort to detect leprosy cases

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BSS-04

LEPROSY-CONTROL

Experts for integrated effort to detect leprosy cases

RAJSHAHI, Feb 10, 2018 (BSS) – Experts have stressed the need for taking
a comprehensive effort to detect all the leprosy cases early as the disease
is curable, aiming to build a leprosy-free society.

They said importance should be given on creating mass awareness about
the sign and symptoms of leprosy and ensuring treatment for all leprosy
patients free of cost.

“Leprosy mainly affects the skin and superficial segments of peripheral
nerves, but can affect any tissue except brain and spinal cord. However, it
is not a hereditary disease,” Dr Afsar Siddiqui, Assistant Professor of Sex,
Skin and Venereal Diseases of Rajshahi Medical College Hospital, told BSS.

Describing the major sign and symptoms of leprosy, he said the late case
diagnosis, little knowledge among community people, social stigma and limited
mental health services are the major challenges towards eradication of the
disease.

As leprosy service providers are limited in the country, the physician
said, authorities concerned should extend cooperation towards the existing
organisations giving services to leprosy patients and encourage new doctors
to work for the leprosy patients.

Social awareness must be created so that no leprosy patient remains out
of treatment since the untreated cases are the only source of more infection,
Dr Afsar said.

He said the major sign and symptoms of leprosy are hypo-pigmented
anesthetic skin patch, nodules under skin and thickening of earlobe,
depressed nose, painless ulcer, numbness of fingers or claw fingers, foot
drop due to damage of lateral palatial nerve and lagophthalmos due to facial
nerve damage.

Apart from the government agencies, Damien Foundation Bangladesh is
implementing ‘Rajshahi Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Project’ in
collaboration with the Ministry of Health to address leprosy disease in the
country.

The project is being implemented at 25 upazilas in three districts —
Rajshahi, Naogaon and Nawabganj – covering around 70 lakh people.

Dr Abdus Sobhan, former divisional director of Health Directorate, said
Bangladesh has made a marked progress in the control of leprosy by achieving
its elimination goal.

But, he said, strong political will and adequate resources from the
higher authorities concerned, including the donor agencies, are needed to
achieve the total elimination of the disease.

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