Impact of elimination on disabilities FAQ
What impact does the elimination strategy have on the disability situation?
The most effective way to prevent disabilities in leprosy is early diagnosis and treatment with MDT. With an elimination strategy, the geographical coverage of MDT is increased, leading to greater community awareness of the disease and its treatment. Leprosy cases are diagnosed earlier, and MDT ensures a quick cure, reducing the incidence of disabilities and the stigma that has historically been associated with the disease. It is a virtuous circle.
Since the introduction of MDT in 1981 and the expansion of MDT coverage attained as a result of implementing the elimination strategy, it has been estimated that about two million persons have been prevented from developing disabilities. The drastic reduction in case-load is allowing many health workers to give more time and attention to disability prevention and rehabilitation activities.
Are disability prevention and management given priority within the elimination strategy? What about similar activities and rehabilitation during the post-elimination phase?
Disability prevention and management through cost-effective methods will be a priority concern, next only to MDT and case detection. However, the technology available today is limited and too sophisticated. We need to improve and simplify this for application in the field. As the prevalence of leprosy declines, the diminished workload should make it possible to give higher priority to these aspects, and this will be even more the case in the post-elimination phase.