Hyderabad: The health of those suffering from leprosy worsened in 2020 and more than 50,000 of them did not have proper access to medicines due to the lockdown. Those who were living in secluded leprosy colonies faced a lot of difficulty as they were already socially deprived and food and other essentials took time to reach them.
After the lockdown was lifted, it has been found that the health problems for many of them have increased. There are about 1 lakh new cases of leprosy every year in India, and two lakh cases around the world. India has the highest number of cases and they require special care as they cannot be brought to institutions for fear of spread of infection.
For this reason, many of them are also treated separately in secluded areas. Palliative care is a requirement for those suffering from leprosy, and most of it has to be home-based.
Y. Sasakawa, World Health Organisation’s goodwill ambassador for leprosy elimination, explains, "They have been badly impacted and suffered from an existential crisis. We are now carrying out assessment of their health needs and also awareness about Coronavirus in six states.”
Among the six states is Telangana. “Young people suffering from leprosy are being made aware and urged to follow the safety protocols so that they are protected. The multi-drug regime has cured many of them and the cases are coming down and we have to reach the goal of no leprosy till 2030.”
The Association of People Affected by Leprosy is the group providing care tips and also safety during the on-going pandemic. The data of how many of them suffered and died is not known as it is not clear whether they were in institutional care or home care.
The association is now trying to reach out to its maximum members to collect inputs and also their health and financial status....