lunes, 13 de julio de 2009

La Lepra vuelve sobre Bombay


Leprosy strikes back in Mumbai

Translation of Press report published in “Mumbai Sakal”

on 24-6-2009

Though the government declared elimination of leprosy from the city of Bombay, back in 2005, the cases of leprosy are on the rise. However several NGO’s are working to tackle this problem. Even though the official statistics from city hospitals mention otherwise, the fact is that leprosy cases are on a rapid rise, in certain pockets like Ghatla village in Chembur (Lal dongar), Kurla (Tunga village), Bail Bazaar, Reay Road, Antop Hill, Andheri (Anandnagar), Dahisar (Navgar) Wadala (Nawab Tank) and Elphinstone (Ramtekdi).

The government is spending huge funds in the areas of HIV & Bird flue, but due to the false claims of leprosy elimination, not enough funds are being made available for leprosy. In fact there is a drastic reduction in the fund allocation.

According to state health directorate statistics, the figures reported for Bombay city is as follows:

From Feb 2008 to Mar 2009, 1147 new cases (164 children) and (37 women) were found to have leprosy while from Feb 2007 to Mar 2008, 1070 new cases were diagnosed.

Dr R L Sathye, Asst Director of Health Services (Leprosy) for Bombay agreed that leprosy was on the rise in certain pockets of the city, but mentioned that it was negligible as compared to the city’s population.

The surveillance of leprosy patients was suspended in 2005. But various NGO’s like Bombay Leprosy Project, Acworth, Foundation for Medical Research have started taking active measures in this matter especially in the slums.

Dr V V Pai, Director of BLP opined that leprosy awareness programmes and active campaigns were discontinued because of the understanding that leprosy had been eliminated.

In order to prevent discrimination towards leprosy patients, government had integrated leprosy work with the General Health Services. However discrimination still continues and integration of leprosy services has not been achieved.

Earlier active detection through slum surveys was carried out. Thereafter it was expected that patients would voluntarily present themselves to the health services. But this also does not happen.

Dr V Pol from Anandvan opined that the government failed to spread awareness about the disease which would have been the ideal thing to do.

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