Mumbai: Goverment begins ‘Sparsh’ drive on leprosy awareness

Staff ReporterUpdated: Wednesday, May 29, 2019, 03:12 AM IST
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Mumbai: To create awareness about leprosy among the youn­gsters, the state govt has started a campaign ‘Sparsh’ to be observed till January 30. It aims to sensitise people, since the officials feel there is less public awareness regarding leprosy. People suffering from the disease are still treated as untouchable and outcastes by society and even families. Raju Jotkar, Maharashtra Health Services, JD (Leprosy) said they are are taking special measures to eradicate leprosy and to achieve this it is important to clear the misconceptions among people.

“The campaign started on Jan­u­ary 1, and will continue till Janu­a­ry 30, observed as ‘Leprosy Prev­ention Day’. Through the camp­aign, children in municipal and zila parishad schools will pledge not to mistreat or discriminate against people suffering from leprosy,” added Jotkar. Leprosy is caused by Mycobac­terium leprae, mainly infect the nerves and skin, creating hypopig­mented patches on the skin that lose sensations due to nerve dam­age.

Like TB, leprosy is an airborne infec­tion, making congested localities ideal for transmission. As per a new state health dept data, more hidden leprosy cases were reported in 2018, in Mumbai as compared to those reported in 2017. 362 new leprosy cases were reported betw­een April and December 2018, wh­i­le 326 cases were found between April 2017 and March 2018.

“Every year, 450 new cases of leprosy are regis­t­e­r­ed in Mumbai, while Maharashtra, records around 15,000 new cases of leprosy. The numbers are rising due to late detection and patients are not diagnosed on time,” said an official.

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