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Integrated effort to detect leprosy cases emphasized

By City Desk
12th-Feb-2018       
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Experts have stressed the need for taking a comprehensive effort to detect all the leprosy cases early as the disease is curable, aiming to build a leprosy-free society.
They said importance should be given on creating mass awareness about the sign and symptoms of leprosy and ensuring treatment for all leprosy patients free of cost.
"Leprosy mainly affects the skin and superficial segments of peripheral nerves, but can affect any tissue except brain and spinal cord. However, it is not a hereditary disease," Dr Afsar Siddiqui, Assistant Professor of Sex, Skin and Venereal Diseases of Rajshahi Medical College Hospital, told media.
Describing the major sign and symptoms of leprosy, he said the late case diagnosis, little knowledge among community people, social stigma and limited mental health services are the major challenges towards eradication of the disease.
As leprosy service providers are limited in the country, the physician said, authorities concerned should extend cooperation towards the existing organisations giving services to leprosy patients and encourage new doctors to work for the leprosy patients.
Social awareness must be created so that no leprosy patient remains out of treatment since the untreated cases are the only source of more infection, Dr Afsar said.
He said the major sign and symptoms of leprosy are hypo-pigmented anesthetic skin patch, nodules under skin and thickening of earlobe, depressed nose, painless ulcer, numbness of fingers or claw fingers, foot drop due to damage of lateral palatial nerve and lagophthalmos due to facial nerve damage.
Apart from the government agencies, Damien Foundation Bangladesh is implementing 'Rajshahi Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Project' in collaboration with the Ministry of Health to address leprosy disease in the country.
The project is being implemented at 25 upazilas in three districts -- Rajshahi, Naogaon and Nawabganj - covering around 70 lakh people.
Dr Abdus Sobhan, former divisional director of Health Directorate, said Bangladesh has made a marked progress in the control of leprosy by achieving its elimination goal.
But, he said, strong political will and adequate resources from the higher authorities concerned, including the donor agencies, are needed to achieve the total elimination of the disease.

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