New Delhi: Eighteen leprosy-burdened countries, including India, Thursday acknowledged the role of multi-drug therapy in helping reduce cases of the bacterial disease across the world.
At a three-day summit on leprosy, organised by WHO and the Nippon Foundation in Bangkok, health ministers of these countries - which also included Bangladesh, Japan, Thailand and Brazil - discussed the current leprosy situation and strategies for further reducing the disease burden and realising a leprosy-free world.
In a declaration adopted at the conference, the countries expressed concern over continuing occurrence of new leprosy cases annually in significant numbers in various countries and also the existence of endemic areas.
They also noted with concern the rising complacency in perceiving the leprosy problem.
The declaration said it is time for the leprosy-endemic countries, as well as their international and national partners, to reaffirm their commitments and reinforce their participation towards addressing leprosy in order to ensure a leprosy-free world at the earliest.
They urged governments and all interested parties to accord higher priority for activities towards a leprosy-free world, and allocate increased resources in the coming years, in a sustainable manner, and in doing so.
Special focus be applied on high-endemic geographic areas within countries through vigorous and innovative approaches towards timely case detection and treatment completion aiming to achieve leprosy elimination as a public health problem at sub-national levels, it said.