Terming leprosy a national issue, speakers have highlighted the need for public-private initiatives to eradicate the disease and establish the rights of leprosy victims and their family members.
They delivered this remark while addressing a discussion meeting held at the office of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) in the capital on Sunday.
The programme was jointly organised by the National Leprosy Elimination Programme (NLEP) and some other non-governmental organisations to mark World Leprosy Day – which is 31 January.
Prof Dr Abul Bashar Mohammad Khurshid Alam, director general of the DGHS, attended the event as the chief guest.
Underscoring the importance of raising awareness about leprosy, Khurshid Alam said massive awareness campaigns could bring about a better result on the eradication of this preventable disease.
Listing various measures undertaken for the treatment and rehabilitation of leprosy-affected people, he said the government has taken initiative to rehabilitate those made handicapped by leprosy.
Dr David Pahan, country director of Lepra Bangladesh, said leprosy is a disease of consequences causing: physical, mental, social, and economic impacts. Hence, combined efforts from all sectors are needed to bring comfort to persons affected by leprosy.
Prof Dr Meerjady Sabrina Flora, additional director (planning and development) of DGHS, said, "Though the prime minister has attached importance to the leprosy issue, we are not seeing the expected results mainly due to: the lack of adequate manpower, a scarcity of information, the hindrances to finding new cases, and the poor economic and social conditions of patients."
She stressed the importance of having united efforts by public and private partnership to free the country of leprosy by 2030.
She also called on all concerned to work together to formulate a long-term plan on leprosy eradication and ensure its proper implementation.