Leprosy is down but not out in India as the disfiguring disease -- though with case numbers coming down -- is expected to continue for many years to come, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad told parliament on Friday.
Leprosy cases in the country have come down from 42 per one lakh population in 2001-02 to seven cases per one lakh population in 2010-11, Azad told the Lok Sabha on Friday.
However, considering very long incubation period of the disease, India will continue to have new leprosy cases for many more years to come, he said in reply to a question.
"The government continues to accord high priority to elimination of leprosy within the overall framework of National Rural Health Mission (NRHM). We are advocating a district-specific approach for elimination of leprosy, which will be further strengthened during the 12th Plan period," said Azad.
Citing the World Health Organisation report published in August 2010 Azad said India accounted for about 55% of new leprosy cases in the world -- reporting 133,717 cases out of total 244,796 cases.