World Leprosy Day: Dr Pfau appeals for an end to stigma

Published: January 31, 2011
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 In this picture taken on December 2, Ruth Pfau, head of a charity fighting leprosy and blindness, visits the flood-affected Begna village in Jati town. PHOTO: AFP

In this picture taken on December 2, Ruth Pfau, head of a charity fighting leprosy and blindness, visits the flood-affected Begna village in Jati town. PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: The 58th World Leprosy Day was observed on Sunday with much celebration over having a 90 per cent recovery rate among the 55,000 registered patients across the country.

During a ceremony organised by the Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre on Saturday evening, Dr Ruth Pfau said the achievement of gradual elimination of leprosy was because of the concerted efforts by a team of committed workers.

She said leprosy elimination does not mean that the disease has been eradicated from the country. “Eradication is only possible once people stop getting scared of the ailment and ensure timely diagnosis and treatment.”

She made an impassioned appeal to the people to do away with the stigma attached to disease and the tendency to ostracise the sufferer. Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre CEO Shakeel Ahmed said even though leprosy has been fully controlled, yet the virus is still present. He said the major challenge is to protect the patients against deformities.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 31st,  2011.

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