SC asks Government to prepare plan for eradication of leprosy

SC

The Supreme Court has asked the Centre to prepare a comprehensive policy for implementation of a plan within four weeks for eradication of leprosy.

A bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and justices N V Ramana and D Y Chandrachud said the Centre should also submit in the plan as how it intends to fill the large scale vacancy at the ground level.

Standing Counsel Bala Subramanium appearing for the Centre said Delhi, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattishgarh are leprosy endemic states and efforts are being made to eradicate the leprosy.

The bench which was hearing a PIL filed by advocate Pankaj Sinha

The petition:

  • Despite an effective cure, namely Multi-Drug Therapy (MDT) which has been available since 1981, that can completely cure 99 per cent of leprosy bacteria, due to apathy of the government of India and the state governments, people are still suffering from the said disease, which is treated as a social stigma.
  • It has sought a direction to the governments that drugs be made available at primary health centres in the country.
  • It also pleaded that an appropriate scheme be formulated to bring people suffering from leprosy into the national mainstream.

Leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease (HD), is a long-term infection by the bacteria Mycobacterium lepraeor Mycobacterium lepromatosis. Initially, infections are without symptoms and typically remain this way for 5 to 20 years. Symptoms that develop include granulomas of the nerves, respiratory tract, skin, and eyes. This may result in a lack of ability to feel pain and thus loss of parts of extremities due to repeated injuries or infection due to unnoticed wounds. Weakness and poor eyesight may also be present.