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Leprosy ravages Anambra, 14 new cases discovered


DESPITE efforts to contain infectious diseases, Anambra State government has revealed that 14 new cases of Leprosy has been discovered in some communities in the state.

 The State Commissioner of Health, Dr. Joe Akabike who disclosed the surge of the infection while fielding questions from newsmen in Awka on Wednesday, announced that by 2014, the state had registered a total of 95 cases.

 He said leprosy rehabilitation centres have been established at Father Damian centre, Nnewi and the Okija centre, adding that the disease is treated in all the 21 local councils while the drugs are given free.

  He advised the general public to watch out for the symptoms of leprosy including patches on the skin, loss of feeling in the skin, numbness on the hand and feet, weakness of the hands, feet and eye lid, painful nerves and swellings on the face or earlobe etc.

 Dr. Akabike who said the ministry would have celebrated World Leprosy Day in January added that that it was shifted due to other  official   government activities, saying that activities lined up to mark it this week include visitation to patients at Nnewi and Okija centres, awareness programmes and talks, and radio and television   programmes among others.

 The Commissioner counseled that people should eat balanced diet, especially fruits, avoid reckless intake of alcohol, report to the nearest clinic across the state and complain unusual patches on the skin and other symptoms to a doctor while those already infected should adhere strictly and maintain their treatment.

 He commended Governor Willie Obiano for the efforts to eliminate the disease through release of adequate funds to sustain the two rehabilitation centres and  purchase drugs among other government interventions.

 Earlier, the Anambra State officer-in charge, TB and Leprosy Department, Dr. Israel Enemuo debunked what he called traditional beliefs that there are no leprosy cases any longer in Anambra, saying the disease is in the communities.

 Dr. Enemuo said, “We want to let Anambra people know that leprosy still exists.

 It is found in all the 21 council areas. People infected should go for treatment, it is free”, adding that the aim of government sensitization is to eliminate the disease totally in the state.

 He identified some of the challenges in treatment to include attitude of people who feel shy to report to the clinic and rehabilitation centers   prefer to hide and live with the disease rather than making it public and receive treatment and cure.

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