Nigeria’s Health Minister, Prof. Isaac Adewole has expressed worry over the rising number of leprosy cases in the country.
Over the weekend, at the World Leprosy Day briefing (organised by The Leprosy Mission, Nigeria), he said the country has detected 2, 984 victims since the last count in 2014.
The World Leprosy day is marked on the last sunday of January each year and the theme for 2016 is “Zero Disability in Children Affected By Leprosy.”
Prof. Adewole was represented by the Director for Family Health, Dr. Balami Wapada, who called for concerted response from all stakeholders, whilst also condemning the stigmatisation of persons living with the disease.
The national director of TLM, Dr Moses Onoh, said the Mission is out to create awareness about the disease so that people can understand its signs, symptoms, prevention as well as treatment, based on the standard of the World Health Organisation, WHO.
The climax of the event was the official unveiling of the national goodwill ambassador for leprosy, Chief Chika Okpala (famously known as Chief Zebrudaya).
- Leprosy is a chronic disease caused by a slow multiplying bacillus, Mycobacterium leprae.
- M. leprae multiplies slowly and the incubation period of the disease is about 5 years. Symptoms can take as long as 20 years to appear.
- Leprosy is curable.
- Although not highly infectious, it is transmitted via droplets, from the nose and mouth, during close and frequent contacts with untreated cases.
- Early diagnosis and treatment with multidrug therapy (MDT) remain key in eliminating the disease as a public health concern
- Untreated, leprosy can cause progressive and permanent damage to the skin, nerves, limbs and eyes.
Source - WHO