The World Health Organization has urged countries in the South East Asia region and globally to address gaps in leprosy services disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a press release on Sunday, the WHO called on nations to accelerate efforts towards zero leprosy infection and disease, zero leprosy disability and zero leprosy stigma. "The World Health Organization today called on countries in the South-East Asia Region and globally to urgently address gaps in leprosy services disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic and to accelerate efforts towards zero leprosy infection and disease, zero leprosy disability, and zero leprosy stigma and discrimination -the vision of the WHO Global Leprosy Strategy 2021-2030," WHO said in a press release.
Dr Poonam Kheterpal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia, in the press release said that leprosy is 100 per cent curable if it is detected early. She stressed that countries must work to restore leprosy services, with a focus on enhancing single-dose rifampicin chemoprophylaxis, intensifying active case finding and ensuring prompt diagnosis and treatment.
"Leprosy is 100 per cent curable when detected early, yet today in addition to COVID-19 related challenges, stigma and discrimination- both institutionalized and informal, continue to impede prompt diagnosis and treatment and facilitate onward spread. This has to change," said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh said in the press release.