For the first time, World Leprosy Day was marked in Kalo village of Central Province Papua New Guinea with the theme “Healthy Futures; Preventing girls and boys from developing disabilities associated with leprosy”. Together with the World Health Organization (WHO) in partnership with National Health Department and The Leprosy Mission Papua New Guinea, villagers of Kalo witnessed World Leprosy Day by discussing preventive measures for Leprosy in the village.
After the elimination of leprosy as a public health problem, six provinces, National Capital District, Central, Gulf, Western, West Sepik and East New Britain, still have a high endemic population. While 26 cases were recorded last year, 15 new cases were detected within last week alone.
“The National Leprosy Elimination Programme is now focusing on completely eliminating the problem countrywide,” said Marome, Technical Advisor of National Department of Health in Papua New Guinea. It is targeting:
- Early case finding (active case finding)
- Building the capacity of healthcare workers to be able to diagnose and treat leprosy
- Improving leprosy drug supply coverage and management, and
- Raising awareness at all levels.
Citizens are encouraged to visit their nearest health facility if there are symptoms of leprosy such as:
- patches on skin that are numb
- limb weakness
- painless sores
- ulcers on hands and feet
- unable to close eyes
Leprosy is curable and early treatment can prevent lifelong disabilities.
You can further support people affected by leprosy in Papua New Guinea by calling The Leprosy Mission Australia TOLL FREE on 1800 LEPROSY (1800 537 767) or visiting the PNG Project Page.