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Dhaka Tribune

Number of leprosy patients on the rise

Update : 15 Apr 2015, 08:47 PM

The number of leprosy patients in Kurigram is increasing as the leprosy identification and rehabilitation programme is being going at a snail’s pace.

The leprosy eradication programme in the district is not being successful due to lack of skilled human resources and fund crisis.

As leprosy is contagious, no one including family members wants to get close to such patients for fear of getting infected; the patients are avoided even after getting cured of the disease.

After getting in touch with several leprosy patients, it was found that many have become disabled and are living an inhuman life.

Momena Begum of Panchgachi union, Mohammad Ali, Sirajul from Kurigram town, all of them said their neighbours and family members all avoid them; they have not been called to work since they got the disease.

Lal Mia and Shahidul from Bhogdanga union said although they were cured no one wanted to get close to them, or even talk to them properly.

Dr M Shahin Sajjad Hossain, Medical Officer of Tuberculosis and Leprosy project under RDRS Kurigram, said: “Because of the cold and the high number of poor people in this region, more people get infected with the disease.” He added that if patients take the multi-drug therapy (MDT) regularly at the hospital soon after leprosy symptoms are identified, they can be cured completely.

RDRS implemented the leprosy eradication programme (LEP) in Kurigram in 1982 under the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme. So far 5,031 leprosy patients have been identified and treated.

Project Officer Shimon Marvi of the RDRS Community Health Programme in Kurigram said: “In the past year, 102 [leprosy] patients have been identified and given treatment under the programme [LEP]. Of them 21 have been cured. At the moment, 81 patients are being given the treatment.”

All the hospitals in the district including the Sadar hospital are giving treatment to leprosy patients. However, the field officers responsible for identifying such patients are not skilled enough.

Kurigram district Civil Surgeon Dr Joinal Abedin Zillur said: “Training for the field officers have become necessary as that would enable them to identify leprosy patients quicker. It would be good for the patients.” 

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