Has Leprosy Been Eradicated Around The World?


World Leprosy Day 2022: Every year the last Sunday of January is celebrated as World Leprosy Day (WLD) to raise awareness about the disease and call for an end to stigma and discrimination related to leprosy. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by a bacillus, Mycobacterium leprae that multiplies slowly. On average, the incubation period of the disease is 5 years and the symptoms may occur within a year but can also take as long as 20 years or even more.

Every year, on Mahatama Gandhi Ji’s martyrdom day i.e. 30th January, Anti Leprosy day is observed in India, as he was deeply committed to the cause.

As the fight against leprosy still goes on, earlier this month, the global health body informed that leprosy is likely transmitted through droplets, from the nose and mouth, during close and frequent contact with untreated cases.

It added that the progressive and permanent damage to the skin, nerves, limbs, and eyes can be caused if the leprosy is untreated.

As per the WHO, about 1,27,500 new leprosy cases were recorded from 139 countries in 2020, the aforementioned data includes around 8,620 children below 15 years.

Pointing to the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the WHO said, “The COVID 19 pandemic has disrupted programme implementation and a reduction in new case detection by 37% in 2020 compared with 2019.”

The UN health body aims at eliminating leprosy and by this, the agency means the interruption of transmission.

The agency aims “zero leprosy: zero infection and disease, zero disability, zero stigma and discrimination” in its long-term vision.

In the official statement, the WHO has also mentioned the global targets for 2030 that include a “70% reduction in the annual number of new cases detected” along with “120 countries with zero new autochthonous cases.”

This year WHO is organising the “United for Dignity” campaign to honor the dignity of people who have experienced leprosy.

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