India accounts for 52% of world’s new leprosy patients, says Union Health Minister

Source: The post is based on the article “India accounts for 52% of world’s new leprosy patients, says Union Health Minister” published in The Hindu on 17th February 2023

What is the News?

The Government of India has launched the National Strategic Plan and Roadmap for Leprosy 2023-2027. The aim of the Plan is to eradicate Leprosy in the country by 2027. 

What is Leprosy?

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About Leprosy cases in India

India is making progress and new leprosy cases are declining year after year.

The prevalence rate of Leprosy cases has come down from 0.69% per 10,000 population in 2014-15 to 0.45% in 2021-22.

However, still India accounts for over half (52%) of the world’s new leprosy patients.

Arunachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Dadra Nagar Haveli and Daman Diu have either one or more districts (total 82 districts) which are yet to achieve leprosy elimination target and contributes to more than 90% cases in the country.

What was the impact of Covid-19 on Leprosy case detection services?

Earlier gains made in the leprosy programme were reversed during COVID-19 as a sudden decline in case detection numbers was noted. 

Case detection dropped by 43% in 2020-21 and by 34% in 2021-22 in comparison to the pre-COVID year 2019-20.

Early detection of the infection in the affected person can save them from physical disability.

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