What ails India’s leprosy eradication programme?

What ails India’s leprosy eradication programme?

With one person being diagnosed with leprosy every four minutes in India, the country accounts for 60% of the global leprosy caseload. Leprosy is fast becoming a growing public health menace in India.

But what troubles India’s leprosy eradication programme? There are many problems, but the shortage of government funds is a major problem.

This is what Dr Anil Kumar, Deputy Director General (Leprosy), Central Leprosy Division, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Govt of India, has to say: “Last year ₹ 42 crores was allocated for the NLEP [National Leprosy Eradication Programme], even though the number of new cases is nearing 1.35 lakh and approximately 7-8 lakh are harbouring the infection but have as yet not been detected. The number of new HIV cases is approximately 88,000 and the hidden cases would be close to 20-25,000. The funds allocated to HIV is more than ₹2,000 crore.” (source:

It’s high time the Government of India realised the menace of leprosy and allocated funds on a par with diseases like HIV.

Medical staff attending to a leprosy patient at TLM Kothara Hospital, Maharashtra