Zero leprosy-related disabilities in children: TLM Kothara Hospital shows the way

Leprosy is a leading cause of permanent physical disabilities among communicable diseases. Because of disabilities, patients are often stigmatised, shunned, and sometimes displaced from their work, family and community.

However, early detection and appropriate treatment of the disease are by far the most effective measures to prevent disability. In the cases where disability has occurred, there is still hope for the patient. Deformities in leprosy, to a large extent, can be reversed through reconstructive surgery (RCS). And The Leprosy Mission Trust India (TLMTI) is exactly doing that. On an average TLMTI conducts 1,500 reconstructive surgeries every year, giving back life and hope to seemingly hopeless situations.

TLM Kothara Hospital, in Maharashtra, is a pioneer in RCS in the state of Maharashtra. The hospital, in partnership with the National Leprosy Eradication Programme (NLEP) of the Government of Maharashtra, and Lions Club of Amravati, organised a mega RCS camp last month. Assistant Director of Health Services (Leprosy) of Amravati, Dr Aulwar was instrumental in organising the camp.

More than 85 leprosy patients from 14 districts of Vidharba district attended the camp and 63 out of them underwent surgery. Eminent surgeons, Dr Vijay Kumar, and Dr Premal Das, supported by the doctors of TLM Kothara Hospital conducted the surgeries. Dr Sanjeev Kamble, Joint Director of Health Services (Leprosy), Maharashtra, felicitated the hospital team for this commendable work, at a function organised during the camp. The patients are presently admitted in the hospital for the post operative physiotherapy.

An upbeat Dr Asha, medical superintendent of the hospital says, “Most of the patients who underwent RCS are young girls and boys. We are doing everything possible to give them back their lives. The theme for Anti-Leprosy Day 2018 (which falls on January 30) is Zero Disabilities in girls and boys. The task ahead is challenging but there is hope”.