To uplift patients suffering from leprosy, the state health department for the first time has formulated a committee.
The committee aims to empower recovered leprosy patients who are frequently abandoned by their families by creating job opportunities and enrolling them in existing government schemes.
Leprosy, a chronic infectious disease that has plagued communities for centuries, still harbours misconceptions and social stigma. Even though leprosy is treatable and curable, those who have undergone successful treatment often endure social isolation and financial hardships due to their condition. To address these challenges, the state health department has taken a proactive stance, establishing a committee to spearhead the empowerment of leprosy patients.
The newly formed committee comprises a diverse group of experts, including medical professionals, social workers, government officials, and representatives from non-governmental organizations.
Dr Vivek Pai, Director of the Bombay Leprosy Project, who is one of the members, has welcomed the move. “Our first priority will be to enrol recovered patients with leprosy in essential government schemes and social welfare programmes. Along with that, we want to create the road map to provide job opportunities through skill development,” he said.
The state public health department recognizing the importance of economic independence in their rehabilitation process, wants to collaborate with vocational training centres and skill development institutes to identify suitable training programmes for the patients. “Once the committee starts holding meetings, we will also discuss other significant issues to address the issue of social stigmatization and fill up the loopholes in providing better treatment to patients in the early stage,” said Dr Pai.