Maharashtra health scare: 14,000 leprosy cases in two years | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Maharashtra health scare: 14,000 leprosy cases in two years

The findings are significant as the state government had declared zero leprosy cases in 2004.

mumbai Updated: Mar 20, 2018 11:13 IST
Faisal Malik
The Maharashtra government has now detected more than 14,000 new leprosy cases in the state.
The Maharashtra government has now detected more than 14,000 new leprosy cases in the state.(HT File)

In a worrying development, the Maharashtra government has now detected more than 14,000 new leprosy cases in the state.

The numbers have been recorded through a special drive conducted in the state over the last two years. The findings are significant as the state government had declared zero leprosy cases in 2004. The state public health minister Dr Deepak Sawant said that the total number of new leprosy cases detected in the state had gone to 14,287 by the end of January this year.

After the 2004 declaration that leprosy had been eliminated at the state level, the preventive action against leprosy had slowed down, the health minister admitted. Dr Sawant was responding to the concern raised by the legislators through calling attention motion in the state assembly on Monday.

Congress legislator Amit Deshmukh had raised the issue of rising cases of leprosy. Deshmukh, while raising the issue, blamed the lackadaisical attitude of the state administration for the rise. He said the funds being made available for leprosy eradication had been found to have lapsed last year.

“It is true that the action against the contagious disease had slowed down after leprosy was declared eliminated in 2004,” the health minister admitted. Many dedicated posts that had been formed for the programme were dissolved, said Sawant.

“However, following the reports, I started a campaign to detect leprosy cases in 2016. A total of 14,287 new patients were identified,” he said. Last year, the state conducted medical tests of over 4.59 crore people. Of 1.64 lakh suspects, we found 5,053 new leprosy patients,” Sawant said.

The state government allocates budget of Rs16.60 crore for leprosy eradication.

In addition, it receives funds of Rs16 crore under the National Health Mission for the programme. Leprosy is a contagious bacterial infection affecting mainly the skin and the nerves. Thane, Palghar, Gadchiroli, Jalgaon, Nashik and Chandrapur are some of the districts that are hit the hardest.