Leprosy cases rising again in State

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 08 Sep 2017 10:05:18


By Vikas Vaidya,

Five from Vidarbha among top 10 high-prevalence districts in Maharashtra

More than one patient Per 10,000 (Vidarbha)

District (Prevalence Rate)

Gadchiroli 4.14
Chandrapur 2.92
Bhandara 2.31
Gondia 2.08
Amravati 1.17
Nagpur 1.17

Although India achieved statistical elimination of Leprosy in 2010, there are still a number of pockets in both rural and urban parts of the country in which new cases are detected still. These include Maharashtra too. In Maharashtra, among the 10 districts with the highest prevalence of Leprosy, five districts are from Vidarbha region. In fact, Gadchiroli from Vidarbha holds the dubious distinction of being second among top 10 high-prevalence districts in the State.

Considering this, the Government has started Leprosy Eradication Drive. The drive will conclude on September 20. More than six crore people across Maharashtra will be part of the nation-wide door-to-door Leprosy case detection survey, said Dr S W Manekar, Senior Medical Officer of Leprosy Unit at the office of Deputy Director of Health Services, Nagpur. He is also leading the campaign under the guidance of Dr Sanjay Jaiswal, Deputy Director of Health Services, Nagpur Division.

As far as Leprosy is concerned, prevalence of less than 1 patient in 10,000 persons indicates a state of ‘elimination’ of the disease, as then it is considered that the disease ceases to be a public health problem.

A look at Annual New Case Detection Rate (ANCDR) of Maharashtra reveals that Palghar near Thane tops the chart, followed closely by Gadchiroli district. ANCDR means 10 or more Leprosy patients in a population of one lakh. After Palghar that has ANCDR of 71.29, Gadchiroli comes second with ANCDR of 70.78, followed by Chandrapur with 56.49, Bhandara with 46.18, Gondia with 32.59, Nagpur with 20.24, Wardha with 18.29, Amravati with 16.46, Yavatmal with 13.45 (excluding municipal council/corporation areas). Amravati has ANCDR of 20.11 and Chandrapur has 18.61 in areas under the jurisdiction of municipal corporations.

The campaign under National Leprosy Eradication Programme is aimed at detecting and treating all Leprosy cases in various districts of Maharashtra that have reported the highest number of cases in the last three years. This time, the campaign covers 22 districts including nine districts from Vidarbha region namely Amravati, Yavatmal, Washim, Nagpur, Wardha, Chandrapur, Bhandara, Gondia, and Gadchiroli.

According to a World Health Organisation report, the percentage of Grade-2 disability among new cases of Leprosy increased from 3.1 per cent to 4.6 per cent between 2014 and 2015. The Government has undertaken this campaign keeping in mind this observation. Grade-2 disabilities are severe forms of Leprosy in which the deformities are clearly visible to the eyes. It indicates that not only are cases being detected late in the community but also that there are several cases lying undetected.

Dr Manekar said, “We have 424 teams for Nagpur that would do the door-to-door survey. These teams are expected to visit 25 homes per day. If any suspected case is found then he or she would be brought to Government hospital and given medicines. Since the disease is contagious we will be giving medicine that will prevent further spread of the disease.”

State officials said that after the physical screening, all the suspected cases would be examined by skin specialists and treated free-of-cost. Even after the campaign, there will be many people who would like to get tested. The Government will make provisions for them as well, added Dr Manekar.