Bauchi State Government on Thursday said it had entered the elimination stage in the control of leprosy in the state.
Dr Mansur Dada, Executive Secretary, Bauchi State Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Malaria (BACATMA), made this known in Bauchi.
Dada said the agency had controlled the incidence and prevalence of leprosy in the state to the lowest ebb in the last 20 years.
According to him, what is left now are some pockets of infections.
“We are entering into the elimination stage because every year we are recording an average of 100 cases out of a population of seven million people across the state.
“The number has drastically decreased from the earlier 300 and 200 cases recorded in the last three years.
“This year, however, we had five cases in remote parts of Alkaleri Local Government Area, particularly in Maimadu, Mai Ari and Kuturu Kuka areas.
“They are now undergoing treatment and we will complete it earlier next year but there are still some hard-to-reach areas and the understaffed population that are having pockets of the infections.
“We have overcome the disease and entering elimination stage and more efforts are now on surveillance and treatment of cases,” Dada said.
He said that the Agency organised a two-day mini-eradication campaign in the affected communities with 17 new cases.
He said that the agency had treatment centres in all headquarters of the state’s 20 local government areas and some selected health facilities.
Dada said the agency could continue to sustain the programme when Netherland Leprosy Relief Fund folds up in December this year.
According to him, the project will be sustained through the state budget and support from the National Leprosy Control Programme.
“We have a Directorate for TB and Leprosy where we have trained staff and leprosy supervisors in each of the 20 local government areas where there is TB.
“Apart from the local government leprosy treatment centres, we have referral hospital at Bayara that is dedicated to TB and leprosy as well as infectious diseases,” Dada said.
The secretary said that the number of complicated cases had been reduced to the barest minimum due to the high level of detection and early treatments.
According to him, the Bayara Leprosy Colony that harboured lepers in the 1980s has been closed down as patients only come for treatment and go back to their villages or towns.