Rehabilitation of leprosy-affected people a challenge: NHRC

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Friday said the rehabilitation of leprosy-affected people remains a cause of concern in the country.

New Delhi: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Friday said the rehabilitation of leprosy-affected people remains a cause of concern in the country.

"The issue of bringing the leprosy-affected persons into the mainstream of society with their proper rehabilitation and financial assistance with a uniform approach across the country remained a challenge," Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, chairperson of NHRC, said.

"New cases of leprosy which were occurring despite preventive measures were a cause of concern," he said at a day-long workshop on leprosy here.

The NHRC chairperson said that the commission is deeply concerned about the human rights of the people affected by leprosy as they face stigma and discrimination in society, despite the fact that leprosy is curable.

"Efforts have to be made by various stakeholders to spread awareness about the scientific facts related to the disease and break the myths attached to it," he added.

Union Health Secretary B.P. Sharma said the rehabilitation of leprosy-affected people is a stupendous task and cannot be handled by a single department.

"Barring Chhattisgarh, most of the states achieved elimination targets, but the occurrence of fresh cases of leprosy is a worry," he said.

"However, the Centre is committed to achieving the elimination target by 2017, as set out in the 12th five-year plan," he added.

He lauded the role of NGOs involved in the identification, treatment and facilitation of leprosy-affected people.

Rajesh Kishore, secretary general of NHRC, said the commission is consistently keeping a tab on the protection and promotion of human rights of leprosy-affected people.