Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today vowed to eliminate leprosy from the country before the target of 2030, urging local pharmaceutical companies to produce medicines for the leprosy patients and distribute those free to help achieve the goal.
"There are many pharmaceutical companies in our country which export medicines to different countries of the world and the quality of their medicines are very high," she said.
"So, I would like to request them to produce the specialised medicines that are needed for the leprosy patients and make arrangements to distribute those among the patients free of cost and thus they can help reach our goal fast," Sheikh Hasina said.
The prime minister said this while inaugurating the National Conference-2019 on "Zero Leprosy Initiative by 2030" at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel here this morning.
She simultaneously called upon all concerned including health department officials and field-level staffs to strengthen the national leprosy activities to build a leprosy-free Bangladesh before 2030.
"I believe that we could build a leprosy-free Bangladesh much before the target 2030, if we all work sincerely in this regard," she said.
Terming the persons suffering from leprosy as a part of the society, the prime minister urged the people to treat them with humanitarian outlook.
Sheikh Hasina underscored the need for creating social awareness and discarding negative mentality about the leprosy-affected people.
"I will like to tell the people that they're a part of our society. So it's not proper to push them away. If anybody is diagnosed with leprosy, you'll have to treat him or her with sympathy and make arrangements for treatment so he or she could be cured … it's very much necessary," she said.
Health Minister Zahid Maleque presided over the function, while Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Health and Family Welfare Ministry Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim and Chairman of the Nippon Foundation of Japan and WHO Goodwill Ambassador Yohei Sasakawa were present as the special guests.
Secretary of the Health Services Division Md Asadul Islam delivered the welcome address.
A documentary on overall situation of the leprosy disease and its treatment was screened at the function.
The prime minister advised the physicians and other concerned to take steps so that the disease of leprosy patients is detected at the primary stage. "If they are diagnosed with the disease at the preliminary stage, they could be cured fast and will not be crippled," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said that there is no alternative to employment for ensuring development of all persons with disabilities for leprosy.
"People affected with leprosy must not be sacked from a job, rather a conducive working environment for the disabled people must be created," she said.