The mission will be implemented from September 24 to October 09. A team of two, comprising a man and a woman will visit 25 houses every day and will carry out the survey.
Dr Sanjay Jathar, Addition District Health Officer, (ADHO), Pune, said, “We would be referring the newly detected patients to hospitals and soon the treatment will start. Last, year we had run the similar mission in Pune and we had found 12 new cases.”
Dr Sanjeev Kamble, Joint Director of Health, Maharashtra, said, “The objective of the mission is to spread awareness and remove stigma associated with leprosy. To find out new patients and to start treatment on them immediately, to break the chain of leprosy in state and to decrease the spread of leprosy; are some other objectives. We are also aiming to find out children in primary stage of the disease.”
In India, Maharashtra has the third highest leprosy population. It is caused by mycobacterium laprae, the disease damages nervous system causing skin lesions, numbness and disfigurement.
After the 2004 declaration that leprosy had been eliminated at the state level, the preventive action against leprosy had slowed down and thousands of new cases were detected in the last two years. Thane, Palghar, Gadchiroli, Jalgaon, Nashik and Chandrapur are some of the districts that are hit the hardest.
“Cases in younger children need to be detected faster to treat the infectious disease. People should know that deformity will not come if the disease is treated early. Also, because in the initial stage there is not pain, cases are not detected. Due to stigma attached, people also have tendency to hide,” added Jathar.