Over 1,000 cases this year | Sunday Observer
Leprosy on the rise

Over 1,000 cases this year

13 November, 2022

Over 1,000 positive leprosy cases have been detected countrywide over the past 10 months and the public has been urged to be alert at all times as there is a possible risk of the disease spreading, Executive Director of the Leprosy Control Campaign of the Health Ministry Dr. Prasad Ranaweera said.

Some 40 years ago, there was no effective medical treatment for the Leprosy epidemic in this country. But, after 1980, well-accepted and approved medical treatments were introduced for this disease and those medical treatments have been proved to be very effective and successfull, Dr. Ranaweera told the Sunday Observer.

He said Leprosy is a curable disease but when the symptoms appear the patient has to immediately seek medical treatment.

Since 2020 up to date, about 4,000 Leprosy cases have been reported to the Health Ministry from different parts of the country.

In 2019, 1036 cases were reported and in the current year about 1016 cases have been detected, he said. In 2019, about 7 percent of those patients were school students. At present, that rate among the students has gone up to 14 percent. Of all these patients for the current year about 25 percent of the patients have been reported from the Batticaloa District and 14 percent from the Colombo District. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the medical tests on leprosy could not be carried out countrywide during the past two and a half years.

About 5,000 awareness programs are now being conducted countrywide to educate people at village level on the preventive measures to be taken over this disease under the patronage of the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Kurunegala, Batticaloa and Colombo Districts have been identified as the most high risk zones by the health authorities.

“Our target is to create a Sri Lanka free from leprosy before long by utilising all available human resources and public funds. All patriotic citizens have to support the health authorities with enthusiasm and responsibility to achieve that goal”, Dr. Ranaweera said.