Centre Mum on Availability, Requirement of key Leprosy Drug
- Leprosy is a chronic, progressive bacterial infection caused by Mycobacterium Leprae.
- Leprosy is also called as Hansen’s Disease.
- It is transmitted mainly by breathing airborne droplets from the infected individuals.
- It has a long incubation period of 3-5 years which makes it much harder to track when and where a person got infected.
- According to the World Health Organization (WHO), India hosts 66% of the leprosy patients in the world.
- Clofazimine is an antimycobacterial, which along with Rifampicin and Dapsone is used in the treatment of multibacillary leprosy cases.
Measures taken to eradicate leprosy:
WHO’s Global Leprosy Strategy include:
- Detecting cases early before visible disabilities occur, with a special focus on children as a way to reduce disabilities and reduce transmission;
- Targeting detection among higher risk groups through campaigns in highly endemic areas or communities; and
- Improving health care coverage and access for marginalized populations.
Government of India has initiated multiple programs for Leprosy eradication such as:
- National Leprosy Control Programme of 1955 under which the government has been ensuring a steady supply of monthly blister packs containing Clofazimine, Rifampicin and Dapsone for 12 months to the patients.
- National Leprosy Elimination Project of 1993-94 which was funded with the help of the World Bank.
- National Leprosy Eradication Programme helped to reach the goal of less than 1 case per 10,000 Population, at the National Level by December 2005.
- SPARSH Leprosy Awareness Campaign was launched to promote awareness and address the issues of stigma and discrimination in 2017.
- India was among the 14 countries that missed the target of eliminating leprosy in the year 2001, when the global elimination target was achieved.
- The lack of availability of clofazimine, can lead to a dangerous situation as all the three drugs will have to be given together to prevent drug-resistant leprosy.
Source The Hindu