From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi
The Bauchi State Agency for the Control of HIV /AIDS, tuberculosis, leprosy and Malaria (BACATMA) has said 206 leprosy cases, representing 0.3 per, 10, 000 population were recorded in the state, even as the Agency advocated for the enactment of laws that would eradicate stigmatization and discrimination against persons suffering from leprosy in order to bring succour to them.
The Executive Chairman of the Agency, Dr Mansur Dada, who made the disclosure while briefing newsmen on the planned activities of the agency to commemorate this year’s World Leprosy Day, said the state had achieved the global elimination target of one case per 10, 000 population.
He said: “The achievement was recorded as a result of series of activities carried out by BACATMA to curtail the disease in the state which includes : intensification of leprosy case finding, provision of drugs free of charge to patients and treatments.”
Dr Dada explained that some of the symptoms of leprosy cases includes skin patch lighter than the surrounding skin, pale skin, loss of sensation of touch, pain, loss of eyebrows, eye lashes, damage, blinking, painful peripheral nerves of hands, feet and facial disfigurement among others.
He stressed that although it was an air born disease, curable if diagnosed, treated early, adding that people could prevent infection by avoiding interactions with patients.
“Leprosy is completely curable with the WHO recommended multi drug therapy (MDT), provided that the patients takes the correct dose of the prescribed medication for the appropriate duration of six to 12 months. Leprosy diagnosis and treatment are free and available in over 200 public health facilities in the state. “