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Pune hospital admits a family of lepers as number of new cases rises

The Bandorwalla leprosy hospital of Pune, run by the state, is seeing a rise in new admissions over the last few years. Hospital’s administrative officer, Dr Meera Bhoi, says, “This year the hospital is seeing 30 to 50 new admissions every month, which was not the case earlier.”

pune Updated: Oct 30, 2018 18:56 IST
Nozia Sayyed
Nozia Sayyed
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,leprosy,Bandorwalla
Leprosy has not been eliminated and is still very much hidden in our society(REUTERS/HT)

The Bandorwalla leprosy hospital of Pune, run by the state, is seeing a rise in new admissions over the last few years. Hospital’s administrative officer, Dr Meera Bhoi, says, “This year the hospital is seeing 30 to 50 new admissions every month, which was not the case earlier.”

“This year, for the first time, we have admitted a family - mother and two children - all positive for leprosy infection.” This has never happened before. Very rarely we see families getting admitted together and rarely enough a paediatric case. The male child is hardly four years of age and was suffering from symptoms like wounds, lesions, gangrene for many days and even months, and now they have come to us. We have started the treatment to stabilise them. Leprosy has not been eliminated and is still very much hidden in our society.”

“There could be many such paediatric cases which we need to identify on an urgent basis so that they can be saved from deformity and disability,” says Dr Bhoi.

Dr Bhoi says the leprosy hospital has been running detection campaigns for some time now, but only in a few districts.

“However, only this year it was decided to conduct a state-wide campaign. Through this we not only found out many cases but now some of them have been also sent to us for treatment. Now the current admitted figures are 185 patients, of which many are new ,” Dr Bhoi says.

Dr Girish Aphale, senior dermatologist, who also treats leprosy, said, “There were always hidden cases and it will keep coming till a vaccine is developed. Also there are chances of under reporting of this disease because not all private doctors report their figures to the state, which needs to be done. However, we never stopped seeing cases with us.”

When asked about further steps after detecting these new cases, Dr Sanjeev Kamble, state director of health services said, “The main aim is to rehabilitate these patients and treat them fully so that there is no relapse. Besides that, eradicating the social stigma related to leprosy is a must because such patients who are admitted with us often delay their treatment due to a lack of awareness and the stigma related to the disease. Also, many stay back with us most of the time because of non-acceptance by their families. Hence, rehabilitation is our next step.”

First Published: Oct 30, 2018 18:38 IST