Mzimba North health office has registered 18 cases of leprosy and the cases are being managed at Mzuzu Central Hospital.
Phillip Maunda, one of the clinicians managing Dermeto-Venereology/ Dermatology (Skin) clinic at Mzuzu Urban ealth Centre, disclosed this to Malawi Metro news.
Maunda said cases of leprosy have been registered from different parts of the district such as Mpherembe area and one in Mzuzu.
Maunda advised people in Mzimba North and other surrounding areas that first of all they need to know what is leprosy and they need to know how they can prevent leprosy and the complications of leprosy.
“So, my advice is that any person who is having these signs, changing of the color of the skin plus loss of sensation they should visit the hospital as soon as possible so that we can check them if indeed they have disease,” said Maunda.
Maunda also hinted that, in Mzimba North, they are facing challenges when it comes to tracking patients of leprosy since many people do not know what leprosy is and as a hospital, they do not have logistics to conduct awareness and sensitisation campaigns and they have never conducted any awareness campaign.
“Even though we have registered 18 cases of Leprosy, sensitization and awareness campaigns have not yet been conducted because of logistical challenges.
“For now, we have location of Mpherembe and the like where we have got a number of these leprosy cases. So, we really need some logistics to conduct community sensitisation there, awareness of the leprosy including other areas where we don’t have leprosy cases but we do hope that there might be some cases somewhere, but we cannot conduct such campaigns without some logistics so as a hospital we really need that because there are some people out there, up to this date they don’t know what is leprosy, how it can be transmitted and the like,” said Maunda.
Maunda also hinted that, all health workers need orientation in Leprosy because majority think it’s a disease of the past.
Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by a bacillus, Mycobacterium leprae. M leprae multiplies slowly and the incubation period of the disease, on average, is 5 years. Symptoms may occur within 1 year but can also take as long as 20 years or even more.
Leprosy mainly affects the skin, the peripheral nerves, mucosa of the upper respiratory tract, and the eyes. The disease is curable with multidrug therapy.