Nepal achieved the elimination of leprosy as a public health problem at national level in December 2009 and declared elimination in 2010. Department of Health Services acknowledged this achievement as one of the major success stories of the health sector in the past decades. Although significant progress has been made in reducing the disease burden at national level, sustaining the achievement & further reducing the disease burden through delivering quality leprosy services still remain as major challenges.
After meeting the elimination target at national level, the national strategy was revised to “Sustain Quality Leprosy Services and Further Reduce the Disease Burden due to Leprosy in Nepal: 2011-2015” based on the “Enhanced Global Strategy for Further Reducing the Disease Burden Due to Leprosy: 2011-2015” and the updated national Operational Guideline is developed based upon WHO guideline.
The main principles of leprosy control are based on early detection of new cases and timely and complete treatment with multi drug therapy (MDT) through integrated health services. The programme has a major target for achieving district level elimination and to reduce grade II disability below 1 per million populations by 2020. Despite targeting for further reduction in disease burden, the programme saw an increase in prevalence rate from 0.77 per 10,000 pop in FY 066/67 to 0.83 per 10,000 population in 070/71 and more than 3000 new cases are detected annually.
Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Focal Unit(DRFU) has been established at the leprosy control division under Ministry of Health and Population. Coordination among various organizations working in disability sector is necessary to mainstream the leprosy issues on disability movement.
In fiscal year 2014/015, new approaches and technology such as leprosy post exposure prophylaxis (LPEP) was introduced in three high PR districts (Jhapa, Morang & Parsa) and has been planned to expand to Dhanusa and Kapilvastu districts in fiscal year (2015/ 2016).