How is leprosy eliminated in affected countries?

Online Q&A
6 November 2006

Q: How is leprosy eliminated in affected countries?

A: The best way to eliminate leprosy is by developing community awareness programmes aimed at removing the stigma attached to leprosy, and ensuring adequate services and drugs are available to diagnose and cure it.

The key steps WHO and its partners are taking to eliminate leprosy are:

  • ensuring national and local health agencies assume full responsibility for promoting early detection, diagnosis and treatment of the disease;
  • promoting early diagnosis and treatment through multidrug treatment–which is the most effective and well-tolerated therapy–and integrating this approach into the existing primary health care system;
  • ensuring a regular supply of multidrug treatments free of charge; and
  • monitoring the progress of leprosy elimination to ensure that national programmes in endemic countries remain on track and that statistics are accurate.

The essence of the elimination strategy to cure leprosy, avoid disability and reduce the disease burden is to detect all patients as early as possible, and to treat them with multidrug treatment.

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