By Meclina Chirwa
Lack of adequate resources has been singled out as the major challenge in tracing leprosy defaulters in Karonga district.
Dermato-venereology Officer at Karonga District Hospital, Henry Simeza, disclosed this in an interview with Timveni.
According to Simeza, despite several challenges being faced, the hospital is striving towards providing quality health services to leprosy patients.
Leprosy has been endemic in many regions across the globe since biblical times.
Promoting awareness of the disease will increase the detection of complications and circumvent long term morbidity. Mycobacterium leprae is transmitted following prolonged close contact with infected patients.
The World Health Organization strategic plan for Leprosy Elimination, 2000-2005, made a commitment to eliminate leprosy through control measures that are accessible at local health facilities. The control measures emphasized on facilities to diagnose and treat patients with multidrug chemotherapy, patient and family counselling, community education, disability support, rehabilitation and referrals for complications.
However, lack of resources is said to be hindering efforts of fighting the disease in Malawi.
Simeza lamented that Karonga district hospital is one of the most affected hospitals in the country.
Simeza, said the hospital has no transport to trace leprosy defaulters in the communities.
Karonga has 5 cases of leprosy and Malawi has over 500 leprosy cases overall.
Leprosy is still a prevalent communicable disease and a leading cause of long-term physical disability. The disease is still a threat even in countries that have statistically achieved the WHO elimination target.