In a recent survey done in 12 leprosy endemic districts of Gujarat, the Health Department has discovered nearly 3,000 new leprosy patients. Of these, 226 have are children. Now, the department is planning to provide every possible medical facility to them.
The survey has been carried out in the districts of Central and South Gujarat which include Dahod, Panchmahals, Mahisagar, Vadodara, Chhota Udepur, Narmada, Bharuch, the Dangs, Navsari, Surat, Tapi and Valsad. These districts have been divided into two zones called Vadodara and Surat Zone. It was done as part of the department’s annual Special Activity Plan to find out new leprosy patients.
The survey found a total of 2,981 new leprosy patients from Central and South Gujarat region. These are cases in addition to around 7,000 other patients in the state. Many of them have also developed disabilities. The survey was done following a public interest litigation (PIL) that was filed in the SC last month.
The petitioner contended that, lakhs of people still suffer from leprosy due to the apathy of the Central and state governments. He added that the figures were in contrast to the fact that Multi-Drug Therapy has been available since 1981 that can eliminate 99% of leprosy bacteria. He said that leprosy affects more than 1,25,000 people yearly throughout the country. A SC bench hearing the petition issued notices to the Centre and state governments.
Sources said that the state government will file an affidavit in reference to the PIL .