27 May 2011
By Umesh Isalkar
The report reveals a considerable increase in the NCDR which was hovering between 9 and 10 per lakh population during 2006–07.
What is more worrying is the fact that 53 per cent of these newly detected cases are multibacillary (MB) – that means the disease has prolonged towards an advanced stage as early cases are not being detected in the state.
To take stock of the situation, the deputy director–general (leprosy) of Central Leprosy Division (CLD), Union ministry of health and family welfare has conducted a state–level review meeting of district leprosy officers (DLO) and major NGOs working in tandem with National Leprosy Elimination Programme (NLEP) at Arogya Bhavan in Vishrantwadi on Thursday.
"There is no need to panic due to the high NCDR. Our aim is find out as many new cases as possible and put all of them on treatment," C M Agrawal, deputy–director general (leprosy) of Central Leprosy Division, said at the meeting.
"In the initial phase, the number of cases will be on rise but once all cases are detected and treated, the prevalence will go down," he added.
Commenting on the high NCDR, N D Deshmukh, assistant director (leprosy) of state health services, he said, "The latest NCDR is based on the voluntary reporting of patients to hospitals and dispensaries between April 2010 and March 2011. It definitely shows an increase but considering the prevalence per 10,000 population, it is 0.93. That means it is well within the normal range."
State leprosy officer Major Pradip Gaikwad said, "The Union government has granted Maharashtra Rs 84 lakh for conducting surveys to find out the exact prevalence of leprosy in the 19 high–risk districts of the state."
He added, "Besides, the state has also been asked to carry out school health programmes in the remaining 15 districts to educate children about the disease and find out new cases among them.
Contact cases of leprosy patients will also be surveyed once in three months to rule out infection." Among the total 15,498 newly detected cases, 8,325 are MB cases. "The high percentage of MB cases underlines the need for detecting leprosy cases in their early stages and treating them promptly," said M D Gupte, chair in epidemiology, Indian Council of Medical Research.
Of the newly detected cases, 6,770 (43%) are women, while 1,912 cases (12%) were detected among children.
The Pune district reported 553 new cases during the same period with an NCDR of six per one lakh population. Of them, 399 are MB cases, that means 72% cases were advanced cases of leprosy.