On the 63rd World Leprosy Day that occurs on 31st January, the Leprosy Mission Trust of India has vowed to double efforts to find hidden, unreported cases of leprosy, which is estimated to be at least twice the number of reported cases. In 2014, the National Leprosy Eradication Programme, a sponsored scheme of the Health Ministry, initiated a national sample, house-to-house survey, aimed to detect and treat unreported cases. NLEP volunteers were able to find 15,875 cases in 2014-15, accounting for 12.6% of cases reported that year.
On 30th January, a web-based reporting system will be launched to upload data on leprosy cases on district and state levels. However, due to the beliefs that the disease affects the morally and physically impure, the fear and stigma associated with it is the main cause of under-reporting, despite the availability of treatment via multi-drug therapy.
This convention of affected persons hiding their condition encourages the spreading of the disease through long-term contact, and thus, now , the government wants to step in and aggressively comb out hidden cases. A leprosy detection programme will be launched from February 23 to March 6 in 50 highly endemic districts in 7 states, The programme will entail house-to-house visits by social health activists aiming to diagnose the disease early before late, severe symptoms occur.