Enhanced global strategy for further reducing the disease burden due to leprosy
Questions and Answers
The current global strategy for control and elimination of leprosy as a public health problem is a continuation of WHO’s earlier strategies evolving with time and current epidemiology of the disease. During the 1950s, with the introduction of dapsone, the institutional treatment approach changed to domiciliary treatment of patients. With the introduction of multidrug therapy (MDT) in the 1980s, and its widespread implementation in the 1990s, a more ambitious concept of eliminating leprosy as a public health problem was introduced. The elimination strategy aimed at reducing the prevalence of cases registered for treatment to less than 1 case per 10 000 population at the global level. The goal was reached at the global level in 2000, and at the national level in most of the endemic countries in 2005
The current strategy - the "Enhanced Global Strategy for Further Reducing the Disease Burden Due to Leprosy 2011-2015", focuses on reducing the disease burden in terms of reducing the occurance of new cases and occurance of grade-2 impairments and disabilities. The strategy also addresses issues such as gender equity, human rights and initiatives to reduce stigma and discrimination faced by persons affected by leprosy and their families.
It is important to explain to all the stakeholders the changes in WHO's strategies, technical improvements in the case management and new concepts currently being applied to reducing the disease burden due to leprosy. This Questions and Answers booklet is an attempt to provide clarifications and justification for decisions taken for introducing changes. It is hoped that the booklet will be of interest to a wide range of decision-makers, health professionals as well as members of the community. The booklet answers questions on the strategy for leprosy control, epidemiology of the disease, case management, including management of complications and many other questions that are frequently asked.