The Nepal Government had successfully reached the elimination target for leprosy in 2009 with less than one affected per ten thousand persons!
However, the number of new leprosy cases since then has increased to a considerable extent due to limited resources.
According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) latest statistics, Nepal recorded 3,215 new cases of leprosy in 2017 alone.
The Leprosy Mission believes that these figureshea could be even higher because stigma surrounding leprosy forces the ailing to keep hiding.
As per the Mission, the disease was successfully eliminated worldwide in 2000 after the new multi-antibiotic treatment’s discovery in 1982.
“Leprosy is so very misunderstood and stigmatized in Nepal, with many people hiding the early signs of the disease for fear of being cast out of their families, jobs, and communities because of ancient beliefs that leprosy is a curse. This is tragic as they then go on to develop lifelong disabilities,” said Sian Arulanantham, Head of Programs at Leprosy Mission.
In a successive attempt to curb the rising cases of leprosy, the Leprosy Mission Nepal launched the ‘Heal Nepal’ campaign in collaboration with the UK Government.
With the initiative, every GBP 1 will be paired with an equal amount from the UK Government.
“Every time the British public reach into their pockets and donate to a UK Aid Match charity, the Government matches their contributions pound for pound. This appeal is directly changing the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable people,” said Penny Mordaunt, Secretary of State for International Development.
The money raised from the campaign will be used to fund outreach teams to find and treat the affected in Nepal’s remote areas and bring anyone needing surgery to hospitals.
“Heal Nepal will not only improve the health and dignity of thousands of people living with leprosy: it will also mean that female community-volunteers receive medical training to diagnose and manage the illness in some of the country’s most remote areas,” said Mourdant.
Let’s see if Nepal achieves success in curbing Leprosy like it was successful with completely eliminating Trachoma.