35 years ago, Raoul Follereau founded ‘Leprosy Day’ with the object of focusing the world’s attention to the plight and misery of leprosy patients. Today, at least in
It is estimated that there are up to 15 million leprosy patients in the world. It is fortunate for us that the estimate of leprosy patients in
There is a total of 31,309 registered leprosy patients in
There are 138 leprosy technicians treating the 12,635 patients who are currently under treatment and annually we discover, on ar average, 1,600 new patients who are added to this workload.
Leprosy is still a much dreaded disease in many parts of the world. This should not be so because it is a disease like any other disease caused by a bacterium similar to the one that causes Tuberculosis, It is dread because of the deformities and subsequent disabilities caused by these deformities.
Yet, all this can be prevented and avoided if the disease is detected in the early stages. Leprosy appears as a small skin lesion with loss of sensation and as it progresses a stage will be reached when the nerves become damaged, resulting in a loss of sensation over parts of the body which cab ultimately cause disfigurement of the patient.
With the new drugs available for the treatment of leprosy, there is no need to worry that the disease cannot be cured. It can be cured. The major problem faced today is that leprosy patients do not always seek treatment in time.
However, leprosy still remains one of the least understood diseases, It is hoped that the public media to will assist in mounting a Leprosy Awareness Campaign so that the early signs and symptoms can be recognised so that the patient can seek treatment before’ deformity has Set in.
Gone should be the days of concentration on the leprosy patient as an object of pity - on leprosy as the summit of horror. The slogan to carry us forward to the turn of the century should be ’EARLY DETECTION MEANS EARLY CURE AND NO DEFORMITY’ .
World Leprosy Day is being celebrated in order to bring into focus the difficulties encountered by leprosy patients and the workers fighting against this once dreaded disease.
It is one that will need substantial financial resources and the determination to march ahead, despite the odds.
Contributed by National Leprosy Control Board
To commemorate World Leprosy Day, Pakistan Post Office is issuing a stamp of Rs 3 denomination on January 31, 1988.