Gangtok: A two-day workshop on National Leprosy Eradication Programme (NLEP) Review and Planning for North Eastern States has started at European Commission Hall in STNM Hospital here on Thursay.. Agenda for the inaugural session included introduction of representatives from all north eastern states - Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim – statement of objectives, global leprosy perspective and introduction of International Leprosy Eradication Programme (ILEP) to north east India. Those who participated in the discussion included Dr DM Thorat, Deputy Assistant Director General, Dr PL Joshi, Deputy Director General, Dr V Pannikar, Leader for Global Leprosy Team (World Health Organization) and Dr Rajan Babu, ILEP Coordinator for India.
The government of India started the National Leprosy Control Programme in 1955 based on Dapsone domiciliary treatment through vertical units implementing survey education and treatment activities. It was only in 1970s that a definite cure was identified in the form of Multi Drug Therapy (MDT). Government of India formed a high power committee under chairmanship of Dr MS Swaminathan in 1981 to deal with the problem of leprosy. Based on its recommendations the NLEP was launhed in 1983 with the objective to combat and eradicate the disease.
Under NLEP, as on March 2007, out of 35 states/union territories, 28 have achieved much successful in curbing the incidence of leprosy, it is informed. They are: Sikkim, Nagaland, Haryana, Meghalaya, Himachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Tripura, Punjab, Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Rajasthan, Kerala, Daman and Diu, Andaman and Nicobar Island, Pondicherry, Karnataka, Gujarat, Tamilnadu, Lakshadweep, Andhra Pradesh, Yttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Goa and Uttar Pradesh. As to the district level, out of 611 districts in the country, 487 have achieved elimination by March 2007.
Dr C Zangmoo, Leprosy Officer of Sikkim presented data on leprosy cases of the past few years. It is revealed that 108 cases were detected in 2002-03, 53 in 2003-04, 41 in 2004-05, 45 in 2005-06 and 27 in 2006-07; 47 multi bacillary cases in 2002-03, 29 in 2003-04, 17 in 2004-05, 27 in 2005-06 and 26 in 2006-07; grade II deformity cases 4 in 2002-03, 2 in 2003-04, nil in 2004-05, 1 in 2005-06 and 3 in 2006-07 and child cases 10 in 2002-03, 7 in 2003-04, 3 in 2004-05, 3 in 2005-06 and 4 in 2006-07.
Number of leprosy cases in Sikkim is quite low as compared to other north eastern states though it needs more attention to achieve the goal of total elimination of the disease from the state, it transpired in the workshop.
Like Sikkim, other seven north eastern states presented their respective leprosy data followed by discussion on various aspects of the disease and means of control.