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23-Aug-2016 12:53

These principles must be embedded in all aspects of leprosy control efforts," Poonam Khetrapal, regional director for the World Health Organisation's South-East Asia Region, said at the launch of the global strategy for 2016-2020 "Accelerating towards a leprosy-free world" here.The new strategy also aims to reduce the rate of newly-diagnosed leprosy patients with visible deformities to less than one per million; and ensure that all legislation that allows for discrimination on the basis of leprosy is overturned.

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"The new strategy builds on the success of previous leprosy control strategies.

It has been developed in consultation with national leprosy programs, technical agencies and NGOs, as well as patients and communities affected by leprosy," she said.

The decision is part of a new strategy launched against leprosy by the global health body, which also called for stronger commitments and accelerated efforts to stop disease transmission and end associated discrimination and stigma, to achieve a world free of leprosy.

"The new global strategy is guided by the principles of initiating action, ensuring accountability and promoting inclusivity.

The strategy focuses on equity and universal health coverage which will contribute to reaching Sustainable Development Goals on health.

According to the health data, the main and continuing challenges to leprosy control have been the delay in detection of new patients and persisting discrimination against people affected by leprosy which has ensured continued transmission of the disease.