Banke, the district in State 5, had 125 leprosy patients till last fiscal year and till the mid-December of the current fiscal year 114 patients were under medical treatment at several hospitals here.
Growing movement of people in the district from outside, the trend of not seeking a regular medical course, inadequate knowledge and information about the bacterial disease and a tendency of hiding the disease due to fear of 'social stigmatization' are among the challenges in identifying its patients and taking timely and sustained medical interventions. This is the experience of Public Health Office, Banke Chief Dhirjung Shah.
Though the disease is transmittable from human to human, it is transmitted only after a long association with the affected. Its bacteria travel through a respiratory route.
Leprosy is still stigmatized in the society as it is still (mis) believed that it was a consequence of one's bad deeds in previous life or a result of a curse by super power (deities) and this also poses challenges for its prevention, according to Shah.
The office continues the implementation of the programmes in coordination to stakeholders concerned to identify those affected, who have no access to health institutes and who have not opened up, and bring them under medication. The infectious disease which is caused by mycobacterium leprae is fully curable if timely medical interventions. Otherwise, it will end in physical disabilities and deformities.
The government ensured free treatment for leprosy. Tingling and numbness in hands and legs, development of discolored patches on skin, loss of sensation on some of body parts and development of painless wounds in hands and legs are the symptoms of leprosy. Health workers advise for immediately visiting the nearby health institutes in case of the diagnosis of these symptoms.
Source: National News Agency Nepal