The World Health Organization (WHO) has established the goal of a world without leprosy for their 2016 – 2020 global strategy.
Since treatment consisting of a combination of antibiotics was introduced over a little over three decades ago, this disease has gone from 21.1 cases for every 10,000 people in 1983, to .2 cases for every 100,000 cases in 2014, reducing it by a total of 99%.
In the introduction of their most recent strategy, an emphasis was made on “reducing stigma and promoting inclusiveness,” in order to foster better diagnosis and earlier treatment. January 26 commemorates World Leprosy Day as part of WHO’s awareness strategy, which seeks to meet the goal of having no children diagnosed with this disease by 2020. The strategy’s appeal is to better understand this disease, its history, how it evolved and how it is currently being treated.
Keep in mind:
- Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease that mainly affects the skin, peripheral nerves, the upper airway mucosa and the eyes.
- When it is detected early, the disease can be cured with a simple treatment that has been distributed for free to all countries by WHO since 1955.
- Except for a few small countries, leprosy has been eliminated as a public health problem in all countries.