Though Bangladesh has already achieved the leprosy elimination target, WHO Goodwill Ambassador Yohei Sasakawa thinks the country needs a further push to totally eliminate the disease from the country.
He said WHO and japan-based Nippon Foundation are going to help Bangladesh take an effective action programme to bring the leprosy rate to zero level.
In an interview with the news agency at the WHO office in Dhaka, Sasakawa, who arrived on a three-day visit yesterday, said Bangladesh can include the leprosy issue in school education programme. Raising awareness among people about the disease and removing the stigma and discrimination towards the affected people are crucial to achieving the best results to eliminate the disease, said the ambassador.
According to WHO statistics, 3,000 to 4,000 new leprosy cases were detected every year from 2011-2017 in Bangladesh.
Sasakawa said Bangladesh and many other countries have achieved the elimination goal -- having less than 1 case per 10,000 population-- defined by the WHO.
The WHO envoy said people need to know three major information -- leprosy-affected patients can get free medicine, leprosy is completely curable and there's no need to discriminate or feel stigmatised towards it. Sasakawa, also chairman of Nippon Foundation, said their organisation is providing necessary support to eliminate leprosy through the WHO.