New Delhi: Welcoming the launch of the ‘Global Partnership to Stop Leprosy’, the World Health Organization has said that a stronger force with a common vision was much needed to accelerate efforts to end leprosy.
“A collaborative approach by leading partners to address remaining challenges with innovative solutions, is expected to provide renewed energy and impetus to accelerate efforts against leprosy. This is a turning point, we must harness this energy to free the world of leprosy forever,” said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director for WHO South-East Asia, who also steers WHO’s Global Leprosy Programme.
The new partnership, launched ahead of the World Leprosy Day 2018, brings together leading agencies and organizations working towards zero leprosy in various parts of the world. The partnership is expected to boost collaboration between national programmes, technical partners, academic sector, patient advocates and donors as it aims to support roll-out of global policy options, scale up interventions and mainstream leprosy under the aegis of universal health coverage.
The Global Partnership to Stop Leprosy is also expected to enhance implementation of WHO Global Leprosy Strategy 2016-2020 “Accelerating towards a leprosy-free world” which focuses on stronger political ownership, enhanced disease control and eliminating stigma and discrimination.
While globally, elimination of leprosy as a public health problem was achieved in 2000 with its prevalence reduced to less than one case per 10 000 population, every year on an average more than 200 000 new cases are reported. Though there is progress, it is very slow.