Leprosy continues to afflict Namibia: Haufiku

03 Mar 2018 10:40am
OUTAPI, 03 MAR (NAMPA) – Minister of Health and Social Services, Bernard Haufiku said leprosy continues to afflict Namibia, with 11 cases recorded in the country in 2017.
The minister made these remarks in a statement presented on his behalf during the national commemoration of World Leprosy Day held at Outapi in the Omusati Region on Friday.
He said one of the 11 cases recorded was in Omusati.
He singled out this region, Kavango East, Kavango West, Zambezi and Oshana as the regions where early detection of leprosy is ongoing and where those affected have been given treatment right away to diminish the chances of developing deformities.
Haufiku referred to leprosy as a mild, chronic and infectious disease that mainly affects the skin, peripheral nerves and mucous membrane of the upper respiratory tract.
“It is caused by a germ called Mycobacterium leprae and is most common in conditions of extreme poverty, dirty environment and poor nutrition,” he said.
He added that leprosy affects all age groups and both sexes but is more common amongst men.
Haufiku said nearly 600 more people are diagnosed with and start treatment for leprosy every day globally, while 213 899 were diagnosed with the disease in the world in 2014 alone.
“It is estimated that millions more go undiagnosed,” said Haufiku, pointing out that the commemoration provides an opportunity to assess the progress and challenges faced in the ongoing battle against the disease.
The theme for this year’s commemoration is, ‘Zero Disability, Working together to prevent girls and boys suffering from this lifelong disability caused by Leprosy’.