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Leprosy still a challenge in Zimbabwe

Charles Sandy, the deputy director of the Aids and Tuberculosis Programme in the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare told StandardHealth&Fitness, that Zimbabwe continues to record leprosy cases.

“We cannot rule out the fact that we have the disease in the country because last year we recorded three cases in Manicaland and Mashonaland,” he said.
“But we have managed to reach the leprosy elimination target, which was set by the World Health Organisation some years back.

“The target was set at one case per population of 10 000 and as a country we managed to reach that target some five years ago.”

Sandy said the reduction of leprosy cases had presented some challenges with medical practitioners showing little interest in the disease.

“We are in the process of mobilising resources so that we offer refresher training to health practitioners as there is need for special training about the disease because it is very difficult to identify.

“For leprosy to be treated successfully there is need for early detection as well as early treatment, because if that does not happen one might end up losing some body parts.”

In Zimbabwe, leprosy patients are mostly found at the Mutemwa Leprosy Centre in Mutoko.

Less than 1% of the population is known to be suffering from the disease in the country and treatment is readily accessible.

Sandy said the leprosy patients in Mutoko need a lot of support, which includes resources for their income generating projects and recreational facilities.

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