The increasing prevalence of leprosy in urban areas has emerged as a cause for concern for the state health department. More leprosy patients are found in the cities than in rural areas.
Health minister Suresh Shetty said this while replying to a calling attention notice. Leprosy patients are found in the city’s Govandi, Kurla and Vile Parle areas and neighbouring Bhiwandi town. In a recent survey, 19 districts and 24 urban areas were studied for leprosy prevalence.
According to WHO, the global registered prevalence of leprosy at the beginning of 2011 stood at 1,92,246 cases in 130 countries and territories.
Most countries in which the disease was endemic have nearly eradicated it at the national level, and are now intensifying efforts to eradicate it at the regional and district levels.
On Wednesday, the state decided to increase the funding for non-profit organisations working for cure and rehabilitation of leprosy patients in Maharashtra from Rs450 per patient per month to Rs2,200 from April 1, 2012.
The decision will help 13 hospitals and 16 NGOs who are working in different districts of the state, including Maharogi Seva Samiti, set up by Baba Amte at Anandvan, Chandrapur.