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
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
“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”.