James Azania, Lokoja
No fewer than 20 new cases of leprosy have been recorded in Kogi State.
According to the Kogi State Program Officer, Leprosy Mission Nigeria (LMN), Mrs. Hannah Fashona the new cases were recorded between January and November 2020.
Briefing journalists in Lokoja on Monday at the Covid-19 response palliatives distribution for communities of persons affected by leprosy and disabilities in Kogi State, Fashona who noted that the organization is determined towards ensuring that Nigeria is free from the disease added that the state referral center located in Ochadamu, Kogi East, has successfully treated some patients affected by the disease.
According to her, it is on record that due to fear and lack of knowledge, over three million people across the globe are living with undiagnosed leprosy and every day the disease causes more damage to their health, livelihood and future.
The LMN Program Officer added that more than 600 people are daily diagnosed with leprosy around the world, adding that over 50 of these are children.
She explained further that Leprosy Mission is embarking on vigorous research to achieve zero leprosy in the world.
She faulted the claim by the Federal Government that Nigeria has attained zero elimination campaign of leprosy in the country.
“The issue in Nigeria is not only limited to leprosy alone. The Federal Ministry of Health recently said they have recorded zero elimination campaigns of leprosy, whereas, day in day out, we record new cases of which children are largely involved.
“Some of these patients don’t come when it is early, they come when it is either grade one or grade two disabilities. They must have gone round the whole herbalist before somebody will refer them to our referrer centre in Ochadamu, for them to get a solution.
“The Federal Government has to come in to achieve that zero elimination campaign and should not be by lip service,” she stated.
She said that the LMN will continue to support the people through raising awareness, prevention, treatment and follow-up so that they can live normal lives among their peers in society.
She said that the palliatives will be distributed to the most vulnerable people living with disabilities in Kogi State.