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India to take 20 years to eradicate leprosy, Govt

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Mar 17: The government today ( Mar 17, 2006) said it will take 20 years to eradicate leprosy in the country which hosts 75 per cent of the total cases globally.

Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss said India had 216,445 cases of the disease as against the global total of 286,063 cases.

In a reply to Mangani Lal Mandal, RJD, on the leprosy patients in the country, the Minister said the states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal currently have the largest number of leprosy cases in India.

He said these states contribute to 42 per cent of the country's population and have 56 per cent of total leprosy cases.

The Minister said 26 states have reached elimination rates for the disease as of today. He said there were 216,000 cases last year.

As of January 31, 2006 there are 1,103,000 cases and it has been authenticated by the WHO.

Earlier, Daspone was the only drug available for treatment of leprosy which had a very low cure rate. With the introduction of Multi Drug Therapy (MDT) in 1982, a definite cure for leprosy was made available. ''Now patients can be successfully treated by MDT within a duration of six months depending on whether the case is multi bacillary or pauci bacillary,'' the Minister said.


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