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PM pledges leprosy-free country by 2030

Staff Reporter:

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday pledged to eliminate leprosy from the county by 2030, urging the local drug manufacturing factories to produce quality medicines for the treatment of leprosy patients.
“We are firmly committed to erasing the leprosy from the country by 2030,” she said while opening the second national leprosy conference-2023 at a city hotel.
The premier asked all concerned to increase the fund and other required measures to achieve the “Ap-proach to Zero Leprosy by 2030”.
At the same program, she unveiled the “National Strategic Guideline for Leprosy 2023-2030”.
The premier also called upon all to serve the leprosy patients with love and affection.
“Let’s all to help recover leprosy patients by standing beside them with love and affection as they are our near and dear ones,” she said.
The prime minister reiterated her call to pay more attention on conducting medical research in the coun-try.
“More medical research is needed for us. But, our medical research is very few in numbers. Please do research on the medical sciences,” she said.
If you will do research on the medical science, you will get a clear understanding on the diseases related to climate, she said.
“We can produce required medicines to treat the diseases link to climate. I request you all to do more research on medical science,” she said.
The prime minister called upon all to stand by the leprosy patients, shunning the old misconception and superstition that they can’t be touched.
“We all will have to come out of the old misconception. Many have already come out of it…. We’ll have to leave the old beliefs and superstitions,” she added.
Sheikh Hasina said they have built digital Bangladesh and now has taken steps to build a smart Bangla-desh.
“How will we be smart, cherishing such superstitions in the Smart Bangladesh?” said Sheikh Hasina.
Sheikh Hasina said the local pharmaceutical companies export drugs to the whole world.
“We produce very high standard drugs,” she said.
The premier said leprosy patients used to be deprived of and alienated from society and the family due to a British period law, the Lepers Act 1898.
But her government annulled the Lepers Act 1898, she said.
The premier asked all to stand by the leprosy patients, boost their morale, show sympathy and ensure proper care of them.
Citing that Bangladesh achieved the WHO goal in leprosy elimination in 1998, she said the leprosy pa-tients are availing free services and medicines from the upazila hospitals.
She said the government has taken steps to strengthen leprosy program so that the system for detection of new patients and leprosy preventive measures can be expanded.
The prime minister put emphasis on prevention of leprosy. “Prevention is a must. We should give special attention to its causes and prevention,” she said.
Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque presided over the event, while WHO Goodwill Am-bassador for Leprosy Elimination and Chairman of the Nippon Foundation in Japan Yohei Sasakawa spoke as the guest of honor.
Secretary of Health Services Division Md Jahangir Alam delivered the welcome speech.
The first version of the national leprosy conference was held in 2019.

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