By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
The Federal Government has expressed readiness to kickoff leprosy from the country.
Dr Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Health, gave the assurance while addressing newsmen on Thursday in Abuja.
Leprosy is an infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae, an acid-fast, rod-shaped bacillus.
The disease mainly affects the skin, the peripheral nerves, mucosa of the upper respiratory tract, and the eyes. Leprosy is curable and treatment in the early stages can prevent disability.
Ehanire said that the government was aware of the current leprosy endemic in the country and it’s collaborating with other stakeholders to make sure that effected Nigerians were properly treated.
He expressed worries over the continued presence of undetected Leprosy cases, especially among children in the country.
He noted that leprosy could be cured within 6-12 months of multi-drug therapy added that early treatment avoids disability.
The minister assured that the government would not relent in its effort to ensure that Nigerians were properly sensitised on the disease and urged them to show love to those affected by the disease and shun acts of discrimination and stigmatisation against them.
Ehanire noted that stigma and discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their families still remained a major challenge in the country, adding that there were many wrong beliefs about the disease.
The minister said that the government would continue to work with through the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control programme to tackle the scourge by ensuring treatment for every affected Nigerian most especially women and children.