The eradication of leprosy is needed to take into serious consideration for the interest of Bangladesh as it poses a huge economic setback on the nation.
Speakers came up with this statement during a day-long event jointly organised by the National Leprosy Programme (NLP) and partner NGOs, said a media statement issued on Friday.
Sasakawa Health Foundation (SHF), a partner organisation of Nippon Foundation, was also in collaboration to host the event.
Health Secretary Md Anwar Hossain Howlader attended the event as the chief guest.
“The prime minister’s declaration of making a leprosy-free country by 2030 is very imperative and to this end, anti-leprosy programmes should be taken largely in the country,” he said.
Leprosy TB Coordination Committee (LTCC) Convenor Dr Aung J Kay said that foreign funding for leprosy programme is decreasing day by day. Hence, initiative from the government is a must for taking up the anti-leprosy programme.
Programme manager (Leprosy) of DGHS Dr Mohammed Eunus Ali said that required financial allocation is needed for making the anti-leprosy programme successful.
Speakers in their discussion said that the impact of leprosy is significant. People with leprosy and their families experience income loss and unemployment because of visible impairments, leprosy-related stigma and high cost of leprosy.
“Leprosy patients encounter social stigma that drives them to conceal their disease from neighbors and even family members, and are faced with the burdens of treatment costs and lost wages while still needing to feed their families”, they said.
Leprosy, when left untreated, often leads to visible impairments of the hands, feet, eyes and face. These impairments, in combination with leprosy-related stigma, limit daily activities and people’s physical ability to perform work-related tasks, they observed.
“Therefore, many people affected with leprosy experience difficulty in finding employment, reduction in earnings and fewer opportunities for education. Thus, leprosy may have a large economic impact on people affected by leprosy and their families”.
Hence, it is needed to chalk out anti-leprosy programmes for making leprosy free country by 2030. Adequate financial allocation in national budget is important for making the programme successful, they said.
They remarked this while addressing a Stakeholders’ meeting among the government, NGOs and organizations of leprosy affected people at Officers’ Club in the capital on Thursday.
Dr Takahiro Nanri, Executive Director of SHF; Nilufer Nazneen, Additional Secretary, Health Services Division, Ministry of Health; Prof. MD Shamiul Islam, Director (Admin) of DGHS; among others, spoke on the occasion.