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Gombe risk undetected leprosy cases – Expert

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Dr Mustapha Musa, Officer in charge of Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Unit, says Gombe State is at risk of an increase of undetected leprosy cases.

Musa told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Gombe on Friday that the alarm followed the non-replacement of some retiring technical field officers who were responsible for detection of cases.

The expert attributed the problem to lack of support by the Netherlands Leprosy Relief Programme in the last one year.

According to him, the Netherlands Country Office situated in Jos, Plateau, had been closed down in late 2016 and there is no longer support for leprosy.

Musa said that the office was supporting 13 states in the country, Gombe inclusive.

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He noted that the support, which was previously given to them, was contributing to early detection and management.

“The Netherlands office was providing Predinisolone and Rifampicin tablets for early treatment of leprosy to prevent deformity as well as technical support in terms of training staff who will go down to communities to detect cases.

“Our technical expertise who are trained on early detection of leprosy are retiring and we are lacking funds to train those that will replace them.

“We are no longer receiving support from Netherlands, Government at all levels should wake up and provide funding for training and all the necessary things needed,’’ Musa said.

He said from January 2017 to date only 16 new cases were detected, adding that the number has drastically dropped because of the dwindling support.

“Decline in number of cases in Gombe state does not translate to lack of the cases completely but because of lack of support to go in to the communities and detect new cases,” he said

However, he commended the World Health Organisation (WHO) for its intervention.

Leprosy is a bacterial infection caused by the bacterium known as mycobacterium leprae.

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