Leprosy Eradication: 20000 Patients Detected in Maharashtra in 2023-24

Comprehensive search for leprosy patients is ongoing in every district of state since 2018-19, covering all rural areas and urban population.
Leprosy Eradication: 20000 Patients Detected in Maharashtra in 2023-24

Pune: The Maharashtra government initiated the implementation of the National Leprosy Eradication Program in 1955-56. However, even after so many years, a significant number of leprosy patients continue to be detected in the state.

Between April 2023 and March 2024, Maharashtra has identified 20,000 leprosy patients. This indicates that the state is still far from its goal of leprosy eradication.

According to health department statistics, the number of leprosy patients in the state has been increasing over the past three years. In 2021-22, there were 14,520 patients, in 2022-23 there were 19,860 patients, and in 2023-24, the number rose to 20,001 patients.

A comprehensive search for leprosy patients has been ongoing in every district of the state since 2018-19. This initiative covers all rural areas and 30% of the urban population considered high-risk. During this initiative, 6,744 leprosy patients were identified between November 20 and December 6 annually.

Despite the efforts under the leprosy eradication campaign over the past five years, there has been no decline in the number of new leprosy cases reported, prompting health authorities to intensify surveillance efforts. Approximately 25,000 villages were surveyed, out of which 22,916 villages completed the survey. Among these surveys, 793 new cases of leprosy were detected, indicating that leprosy transmission persists even in areas declared free of the disease.

Leprosy Patients in Maharashtra:

  • 2021-22: 14,520

  • 2022-23: 19,860

  • 2023-24: 20,001

Prevalence of Leprosy per 10,000 Population:

  • 1981-82: 62.40

  • 1991-92: 14.70

  • 2023-24: 1.16

Continuous efforts are being made to search for leprosy patients, enabling early detection and prompt treatment, which is crucial for ensuring better outcomes after treatment. Additionally, there has been a decrease in the number of new cases among children due to these efforts. - Dr. Sandeep Sangale, Co-Director, Health Services (Leprosy)

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