Health Officials in India have revealed that the country is moving further towards eliminating leprosy. The country has set itself a target of less than one leprosy infected person for every 10,000 people. During the early 1980s, when the Multi Drug Therapy (MDT) was yet to be introduced in the country, the figures were at 57.6 cases for every 10,000 people. This rate has now come down to 1.06 as of November 2005.
At least 11.27 million leprosy cases have been treated in India since the introduction of multiple drug therapy and the country now has only 118,844 registered leprosy cases.
India observes Anti-Leprosy Day 30 January. Leprosy is caused by Mycobacterium Leprae, which primarily affects the skin, mucous membranes and peripheral nerves causing deformities. India is reported to be close to eliminating leprosy altogether.
There is also a need to create social awareness to ensure that the patients who have been cured are free of any social stigma. So far, 17 states and union territories including Nagaland, Haryana, Meghalaya, Himachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Tripura, Punjab, Sikkim and Jammu and Kashmir have attained the leprosy elimination level. But 75% of the cases are reported from seven states including Jharkhand (4%), Orissa and Chhattisgarh (5% each), Uttar Pradesh (23%), Bihar (17%), Maharashtra (11%) and West Bengal (10%). The Government seeks to focus on the states which have the highest incidence of the ailment. The Central Government is also reported to be collaborating with the WHO with regard to this.