• ’Three million affected worldwide’
The disclosure three weeks ago that 20 new cases of leprosy have been recorded in Kogi State has continued to raise concern, particularly among residents of the affected areas.
State Programme Officer Leprosy Mission Nigeria (LMN) Mrs. Hannah Fashona, briefing reporters in Lokoja during the COVID-19 response palliatives distribution for communities affected by leprosy, said the cases were recorded between January and November.
The disclosure that over three million people worldwide are living with undiagnosed leprosy is a source of fear among the affected communities.
Fashona said the organisation is determined to ensure that Nigeria is free from the disease.
She said a referral centre at Ochadamu treated patients affected by the disease.
Fashona said: “It’s on record that due to fear and lack of knowledge, over three million people across the world are living with undiagnosed leprosy and everyday the disease causes more damage to their health, livelihood and future.”
She said over 600 people are diagnosed with leprosy around the world daily, adding that over 50 of them are children. “The mission is embarking on daily research to achieve zero leprosy in the world.”
She faulted claims by the Federal Government that Nigeria had attained zero elimination campaign of leprosy.
“The issue in Nigeria is not limited to leprosy alone. The Federal Ministry of Health recently said they have recorded zero elimination campaign of leprosy, whereas, day in day out, we record new cases. Children are largely involved.”
“Some of these patients don’t come when it is early, they come when it is either grade one or grade two disabilities. They must have consulted herbalists before somebody will refer them to our referral centre in Ochadamu for them to get solution. The Federal Government has to come in to achieve that zero elimination campaign and this should not be by lip service.”