New Delhi: Wikipedia defines Leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease (HD), as, “a long-term infection by the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae or Mycobacterium lepromatosis.” It is a chronic infectious disease primarily affecting the skin, the peripheral nerves, mucosa of the upper respiratory tract, and the eyes. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), “Leprosy control has improved significantly due to national and sub-national campaigns in most endemic countries today. Integration of basic leprosy services into general health services has made diagnosis and treatment of the disease more accessible.” In India, however, of the new leprosy cases reported globally during 2015, the country accounted for the largest number, the Centre said today.“Analysis of geographical distribution of leprosy by World Health Organization (WHO) shows that India accounted for the largest number of cases of leprosy at 60 per cent of the global new cases reported during 2015 by 136 countries,” Minister of State for Health Faggan Singh Kulaste said in a written reply in Rajya Sabha. With a view to eliminating leprosy from the country, a three-pronged strategy was adopted during 2016-17 for early detection of the disease among community, he said. The strategy includes organisng leprosy case detection campaign for high endemic districts, focused leprosy campaign for hot spots and specific plan for case detection in hard- to-reach areas, the Minister said. All detected cases are provided standard treatment in accordance with programme guidelines, he said.”For National Leprosy Eradication Programme (NLEP), funds are provided to states and UTs under the National Health Mission. A budget provision of Rs 46 crore has been made for NLEP for the Financial Year 2017-18,” he added.

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