WHO Focuses on New Leprosy Drugs
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7 January 2009
“The new global strategy for elimination of leprosy is being formulated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) with focus on finding new drugs,” said Indranath Banerjee, national professional officer of the WHO.
Banerjee was in the city to speak at the deliver Jal Mehta memorial oration organised by the International Leprosy Union on Monday. He spoke on ‘Future of leprosy in India’.
Highlighting reasons for decline in number of people affected by leprosy (PAL) across the world, Banerjee said standardised diagnosis, shorter treatment, improved surveillance and integration of services have been instrumental in bringing about the change. Besides, introduction of the MDT medicine in 1980 provided the required leverage to effect the drastic change, he added.
“There were around 5,09,000 cases in India in 1999, now there are just 82,000 leprosy patients in 2008,” said Banerjee. “The elimination concept coined in 2005 meant that the country has below one case of leprosy per ten thousand population.”
Sharadchandra Gokhale, president of International Leprosy Union (ILU), said the ILU has formed a committee with the permission of the state for upgradation of facilities at the Kondhwa leprosy hospital.