• Sun. Jul 21st, 2024

Burundi still registers cases of leprosy


Oct 17, 2022

BUJUMBURA October 17th (ABP) – The National Leprosy and Tuberculosis Control Program (PNILT) at the Ministry of Public Health and the Fight against AIDS organized on Friday, October 14, 2022 in Bujumbura, a media workshop for sensitizing the Burundian population through the media, in order to respond to the active testing campaign for leprosy scheduled for October 24 to 28 this year in the provinces of Cibitoke, Rutana, Makamba and Rumonge.

According to the director of the PNILT Dr. Joselyne Nsanzerugeze, leprosy is a chronic infectious disease, caused by a bacillus “mycobacterium leprae”. She informed that the incubation period ranges from 2 years to 8 years with an average of 5 years. Mrs. Nsanzerugeze did not fail to point out that the first sign that appears is an insensitive stain on the skin, and this changes over time.

Other symptoms are hypochromic or reddish skin lesions accompanied by marked sensory deficit. There is also the attack of the peripheral nerves which result in a sensory and motor deficit of the hands, the feet and the face.

She also pointed out that leprosy is a communicable disease. An untreated multibacillary sick man can transmit this disease to another person by air and through the respiratory organs. Despite this, leprosy is a disease that cures once detected in time and treated. Regarding the distribution of leprosy, she indicated that all age groups are affected by leprosy. All sexes (men and women) are affected by leprosy.

In Burundi, all the provinces are affected by leprosy, but there are more leprosy endemic provinces including Rutana, Makamba, Cibitoke, Rumonge, Ruyigi, and Cankuzo. According to the director of the PNILT, the results of the active leprosy testing campaign during the month of April 2022 in Rutana, Makamba, Cibitoke and Rumonge showed 121 leprosy cases which were tested and treated.

She also added that among the latter, 44 patients were male against 77 female patients, i.e., 36.3% male against 63.4% female. There are also 15 patients who are children against 106 adult patients, the proportion is 12.3% of children against 87.7% of adults.

                                                                                                 View of the participants

Regarding testing in general, Mrs. Nsanzerugeze said that the number of leprosy cases tested has gradually increased to stabilize around 400 leprosy cases per year. There are many leprosy cases that go undetected and untreated, which causes the disease to spread among the people.

Routine testing in health centers registers few cases of leprosy, but mass testing campaigns register more than 80% of leprosy cases per year. Patients are detected late in the multi-bacillary leprosy phase, i.e., contagious leprosy (80%). There are also patients who are tested for at the stage of complications including wounds, ulcers, perforating plantar disease, loss of fingers, toes or blindness (degree of disability 2, i.e., the stage where it is impossible to prevent the lesions that affect the feet and hands of lepers, is around 10%).

She asked anyone who has an insensitive spot on the skin to consult the nearest health facility for testing. She added that the next campaign will start on October 24 to 28 this year in the provinces of Cibitoke (health facilities of Nyamitanga, Murwi, Nyamakarabo, Butara, Buganda), Rutana (Muhafu, Ngomante, Nyagahara, Gakungu, Butezi), Makamba (Musenyi, Kazirabageni, Bukeye, Dunga, Mugeni), and Rumonge (Minago, Gatabo, Buruhukiro, Mudende, Kizuka).