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Ghana To Mark World Leprosy Day On Jan 26   
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The International Community is to mark this year's World Leprosy Day on January 26 on the theme: "Joining Forces – Accelerating Progress".

The theme emphasizes the need to bring all stakeholders together and other International Organizations in the country to join forces in the effort to engage in a ‘war against leprosy’ on the fact that leprosy is wholly curable.

The theme also emphasizes the need for government to formulate policies that will disseminate information about leprosy and prompt the public to be aware of their role to fight indifference towards people with leprosy, and to accord them the dignity and respect that they deserve.

A statement issued and signed by Eleanor Esi Sey, Health Promotion Communication Specialist; Health Promotion Department of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Thursday said, the day would be marked with many field activities like seminars, radio and TV discussions, distribution of leaflets, pamphlets, booklets on leprosy, and religious activities.

The statement said the day helps to tell the story to people who do not know that leprosy still exists, and that it can now be cured. It also helps raise funds so that those with leprosy can be cured and cared for. 

The statement added that few districts have not yet attained the elimination target, and efforts need to be intensified and that some of the activities to be implemented include improving access to leprosy services by enabling all health facilities in endemic districts to diagnose and treat leprosy.

Also some of the activities are ensuring availability of free MDT drugs at all health centres through improved logistics and motivating people to actively seek treatment by creating better community awareness of the early signs and dispelling fear of the disease.

The statement said Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae, an acid-fast bacterium affecting mainly the skin and nerves, and that it is an air-borne disease, probably transmitted by minute respiratory droplets.

It said the disease attacks the skin and nerves and can lead to irreparable nerve damage, impairments and disabilities affecting hands, feet and eyes and has a wide spectrum of signs and symptoms depending on the ability of the host's immune system to resist the infection.

The statement said World Health Organization (WHO) official reports received from 115 countries and territories, the global registered prevalence of leprosy at the end of the first quarter of 2013 stood at 189,017 cases, while the number of new cases detected during 2012 was 232,850.

It said, at the moment, Ghana is classified in – Group Three by the WHO among countries where elimination strategy should be sustained.

The statement said Ghana has attained the WHO target of one case or less per 10,000 of the population and has achieved the global leprosy elimination target of fewer than 1.0 per 10,000 population.

As at 31st October, 2013, Ghana had total registered cases as 471 giving a prevalence of 0.19per10, 000 nationally, the statement disclosed, and urged family members and friends to feel free to relate with cured lepers who need to be encouraged to do normal activities to earn a living.
Source: GNA

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