Despite govt efforts, disability caused by leprosy on the rise

Kathmandu, February 4

Although the government is making efforts to minimise transmission of leprosy, the number of people suffering from the disease is increasing.

What’s worse is that many of them are even suffering from disability due to lack of timely and proper treatment. According to Leprosy Control Division, 30 per cent of leprosy patients are suffering from disability. In the fiscal year 2016/17, a total of 3,215 new cases were reported and among them 87 patients were diagnosed with disability.

Basu Dev Yadav, 50, from Saptari was diagnosed with leprosy when he was 12 years old. Talking to The Himalayan Times, he said, “My parents took me to shamans for treatment, but in vain. The disease has severely affected my leg. Later I was taken to a health post near my village for treatment and there I was diagnosed with leprosy. I was neglected and abandoned even by my own family as they thought the disease is contagious.”

“Due to lack of awareness about personal hygiene, skin-related diseases and its mode of transmission, people are still suffering from the disease,” said Mohammad Saud, director at Leprosy Control Division. “People neglect skin problems, but these days skin problems are giving rise to many skin related diseases,” he added.

According to World Health Organisation, in 2016 alone 102 new grade 2 disability cases were reported in Nepal while 89.0 per cent of grade 2 disability cases were reported from 19 countries.