National Leprosy Eradication Programme

759Govt. Of India started National Leprosy Control Programme in 1955 based on Dapsone domiciliary treatment, through vertical units, implementing survey education and treatment activities. It was only in 1970s that a definite cure was identified in the form of Multi Drug Therapy. The MDT came into wide use from 1982, following the recommendation by the WHO Study Group, Geneva in October 1981. Govt. of India established a high power committee under chairmanship of Dr. M.S. Swaminathan in 1981 for dealing with the problem of leprosy. Based on its recommendations the NLEP was launched in 1983 with the objective to arrest the disease activity in all the known cases of leprosy. However coverage remained limited due to a range of organizational issues and fear of the disease and the associated stigma. Districts were covered in a phased manner and all the districts in the country could be covered only by the year 1996. At this stage in view of substantial progress achieved with MDT, in 1991 the World Health Assembly resolved to eliminate leprosy at a global level by the year 2000. In order to strengthen the process of elimination in the country, the first World Bank supported project was introduced in 1993.

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