Is complete eradication of Leprosy possible in India?
In India the prevalence of leprosy is decreasing to about 0.95 cases per 10,000 population. The health care minister announced that leprosy is eliminated from India. But this statement is very ambiguous because it does not mean that the disease is completely eliminated but the prevalence is significantly reduced. It is reduced o the rate of less than one case per 10,000 population.
In India Delhi has a high prevalence of the disease at about 2.11 per 10,000, along with the two other Union territories Chandigarh (2.03), Dadra and Nagar Haveli (2.44) and a state Chhattisgarh (2.44). But it is said that most of the leprosy cases reported from Delhi are people who come to get treatment in the big hospitals such as Ram Manohar Lohia and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.
Apart from Delhi in the rest of the country prevalence rate dropped from 1.34 cases per 10,000 of the population to 0.95. This is a positive sign and a first step in the initiation of the eradication process. Leprosy cases in the country dropped from 1.49 lakhs in April 2005 to 1.07 lakhs on December 31, 2005.
New leprosy cases are still being but the rate is as low as 35 % lower when compared to 2004. The Six states namely Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Orissa and Chhattisgarh accounts to about 41% of the country's population but 60 % of the leprosy cases in India.
Out of the 596 districts in the country, 337 districts have leprosy rates of less than one case per 10,000 by March 2005. But surprisingly it rose to 408 districts (68.7 %). Still the elimination of leprosy in India is a difficult issue but with a little awareness among the people we will be able to accomplish it without difficulty.