In what seemed to be a shocking revelation on the prevalence of leprosy in Nigeria, experts had said the disease is still being actively transmitted unnoticed across the country. At a one-day sensitization workshop on the rights of persons affected by leprosy in Abuja on Monday, stakeholders are of the view that for Nigeria to be able to declare a zero transmission of the disease, a lot has to be done by the government in the area of financing and the political will to address the scourge.
The national director, The Leprosy Mission Nigeria, Dr Sunday Udo said the thrust of dealing with the challenges of facing out leprosy lies with empowering the right holders and enabling duty bearers to meet their obligations. He said there are bad misconceptions, fear and myth concerning the disease. Udo said a lot of sufferers has been discriminated against based on the believe system of the society.
Udo said those suffering from the disease falls between the poor of the poorest and because of the number compared to tuberculosis, government is concentrating more on TB and neglecting the cases of leprosy.
To this regard, he said there is dearth of expert on leprosy ad Nigeria universities graduated medical doctors and nurses who were not prevail edged to see a case of leprosy throughout the years of their course of study. He lamented that it is disheartening that children less than 14 years old are still having leprosy, he said the frightening reality is that if this trend is not checked, Nigeria may not be out of its present predicament .
He said the leprosy mission Nigeria in 2012 alone recorded over 200 cases in Akwa Ibom, Kogi, , Kebbi, ,Kwara, Niger,Sokoto, Zamfra and the FCT. This cases Udo said covers areas the organization is actively working, this he said translates to huge transmissions in areas where the no active monitoring is taken place.
The operational manager Pius Ogbu Sunday said despite the fact that Nigeria is a signatory to the United Nations general assembly on principles and guidelines for elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their families, the country is doing nothing in the direction of alleviating the suffering of this group of people. He address that on a global scale, one out of twenty children are affected by the disease noting that a lot has to be done in the area of advocacy and awareness.