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Call for everyone to participate in the fight against leprosy

ByWebmaster

Jan 30, 2023

BUJUMBURA January 30th (ABP) – The Ministry of Public Health and the Fight against AIDS calls on the people to massively participate in the fight against leprosy in Burundi, this is drawn from a press release made public by the said ministry on the occasion of the celebration of the 70th World Leprosy Day under the annual theme “Act now, end leprosy”.

According to that ministry, the objective of that day is to sensitize the population so that patients suffering from leprosy are treated like all other patients, and to banish the stigma around that disease. Leprosy still exists both in the world and in Burundi. It is transmitted through the respiratory airways, and affects men, women and children alike. This insidious disease with very slow incubation affects the peripheral nervous system. The first visible symptom is an insensitive spot on the skin, as reported by the ministry in charge of health through that press release.

The said ministry went on to point out that if leprosy is not treated early, it can lead to severe paralysis and infirmity manifested by plantar ulcerations, contracture of fingers and toes, loss of sight and total disability.

Although Burundi has reached the leprosy elimination threshold (<1/10,000 inhabitants), an upsurge in leprosy cases has been observed. This is explained by the statistical data collected, which shows that 400 patients were tested in the country in 2017, 415 cases in 2019, 407 patients in 2020, 458 new cases of leprosy in 2021 and 466 new cases of leprosy in 2022.

Still according to the Ministry of Public Health and the Fight against AIDS, leprosy remains endemic in eight provinces of the country from which 80% of the patients tested come from. These are Karusi, Cankuzo, Ruyigi, Rutana, Makamba, Rumonge, Cibitoke and Bubanza provinces.

The Ministry in charge of Public Health recalls that leprosy is not hereditary. Thus, it calls for the involvement of everyone, for solidarity and mutual aid towards leprosy patients, which will reduce the burden of that disease and the participation of all in the development of the country. Remember that the whole world has celebrated World Leprosy Day on the last Sunday of January every year since 1954.