SIX provinces still have cases of leprosy despite a target to eliminate the disease by 2000, according to an official from Mission Leprosy.
Technical adviser Abel Marome said the provinces were National Capital District, Central, Gulf, Western, West Sepik and East New Britain.
“In 1991, the National Health Department in collaboration with partners initiated the National Leprosy Elimination Programme when the prevalence rate was 14 per 10,000 people,” Marome said.
“In 2000, the programme attained a national prevalence of 0.7 per 10,000.
“Sixteen years after the elimination, these six provinces still had a high endemic population.”
Marome said leprosy was caused by a bacteria and spread through droplets of moisture passed through the air. “It can be cured with multidrug therapy (MDT), that means there is no need to discriminate people affected by leprosy.
He said the goal of the elimination programme was to eliminate the disease as a public health problem.
“The National Leprosy Elimination Programme is now focusing on completely eliminating the problem countrywide,” Marome said.
It is targeting:
He said World Leprosy Day fell on the last Sunday of January but PNG would be celebrating it today.
“We are encouraging the public to report to the nearest health facilities if they have a patch on their skin that was numb, limb weakness, painless sores or ulcers on their hands or feet and unable to close their eyes,” Marome.
“Without treatment or delay in diagnosis and treatment will lead to lifelong disabilities.” The National
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