Leprosy elimination in the WHO African Region: information document
Abstract1. Leprosy is an infectious disease sustained by overcrowding and poverty. It causes deformation,mutilation and disability in the majority of people affected. It is rife among poor populations,impoverishing them even further. Currently, more than five million people (patients and their families)in the African Region are affected by the social and economic consequences of leprosy.2. The development of an efficacious treatment using a combination of three drugs (multidrugtherapy) and the fact that treatment is free of charge led to rapid cure of the disease. That promptedthe World Health Assembly to decide, by its Resolution WHA 44.9 passed in 1991, to eliminateleprosy as a public health problem.3. Member States’ political commitment to eliminating leprosy found expression in theimplementation of a national leprosy elimination programme in each country. Regular evaluation ofthe national programmes rendered achievable the objective of leprosy elimination as a public healthproblem defined as a prevalence rate below one case per 10 000 inhabitants. As a result, over 800 000leprosy cases were cured in the Region in the last decade. However, although 37 countries havereached the threshold for leprosy elimination, three other countries remain very endemic and are atrisk of inability to attain the set threshold of one case per 10 000 inhabitants by 2005.
Regional Committee for Africa, 54. (2004). Leprosy elimination in the WHO African Region: information document. WHO. Regional Office for Africa. https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/93122
DescriptionRegional Committee for Africa Fifty-fourth SessionBrazzaville, Republic of Congo, 30 August–3 September 2004: Provisional agenda item 12.3
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