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St. Lucia observes World Leprosy Day on Sunday, January 30th

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Saturday, January 29, 2005 - While the Ministry of Health continues to develop and improve its program for the control of Leprosy, health officials say they are concern that many persons still have a negative perception of the disease.

In a national address on the occasion of the 52nd observance of World Leprosy Day on Sunday, January 30th, Health Minister Hon. Damien Greaves said the success of the Leprosy Control Programme will depend immeasurably on people changing their attitude towards the disease.

“We must change our perception of this disease and see it for what it is, that is, just another infectious disease, which is curable and does not kill. Here are the facts about Leprosy: there is a cure for leprosy and medication is free of charge. Patients who take their medication regularly, decrease the risk for passing this disease on to a healthy person”, Minister Greaves said.
Global statistics reveal that over 500,000 new cases of leprosy were detected during 2003. In Saint Lucia, 13 new cases of leprosy were detected in 2004, a figure which according to Minister Greaves is high when compared to the size of island’s population.

“Every St. Lucian must make it his/her duty to learn about this disease. I am making a special appeal to those communities where Leprosy numbers are high; together let us fight this disease and win the battle against Leprosy”, he said.

Leprosy is one of the oldest recorded diseases, with affected persons suffering gross deformities. This year World Leprosy Day was observed under the theme, “Uniting Forces in the fight against Leprosy”.

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