30 January 2013

Nigeria: 'Country Still Leprosy Endemic'

Despite achieving elimination targets, Nigeria still detects and records news cases of leprosy, coordinator of the National Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Buruli Ulcer Control Programme, Dr Joshua Obasanya, has said.

Fifteen years after Nigeria reached elimination targets set by World Health Organisation--to reduce leprosy incidence to 1 in 10,000--He said Nigeria is still endemic, with many affected facing major disability.

"In 2011, 3623 cases were detected and treated. Stigma and discrimination against persons affected and their families are still major challenges," Obasanya announced, as Nigeria marked the 60th Leprosy Day, which highlights equal rights and justice for persons affected.

Nigeria still runs a five-year National Leprosy Strategic Plan, based on WHO strategy for the disease, but Obasanya said the country needed a united front to meet its "obligations to respect, protect and end leprosy-related stigma and discrimination."

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