WHO calls for stepped-up fight against leprosy

Posted by Kitara Julian On 12:44 AM
The World Health Organization called Monday for greater efforts to fight leprosy, warning the disfiguring disease was defying efforts to wipe it out across many countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

"We opened the champagne too early," said Shin Young-soo, chairman of the WHO's Western-Pacific region that covers 37 countries at the start of a three-day conference looking at how to combat leprosy and treat its victims.

There are 5,000 new cases being reported each year in the Western Pacific, according to Shin.

He said the problem was most severe in Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Kiribati, which had failed to meet the WHO's technical definition of "elimination" of fewer than one case per 10,000 people.

Even in the Philippines, where the disease was officially "eliminated" in 1998, 2,000 new cases are still recorded every year, according to Shin.

Outside of the Western Pacific, the problem is worse. Read More

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