Central region faces big challenges in erasing leprosy

The central region, particularly the Central Highlands, is facing big challenges in further reduce the incidence of leprosy, a conference heard on June 13. 

Hundreds of researchers and doctors attended the 17th Dermatology Conference of Central-Central Highlands region held in the central province of Binh Dinh. 

According to reports at the event, the average annual detection rate of leprosy cases in the central region has been kept at under 1 per 100,000 since 2005, but the rate is higher in several Central Highlands provinces. Kon Tum recorded the highest rate of 2.79 per 100,000, followed by Gia Lai with 2.04 per 100,000. Most newly-discovered leprosy cases are in remote mountainous areas. In particular, the number of child patients of this disease in the first five months of this year increased by 3.17 percent compared to the same period last year. 

Regional doctors blamed the situation on a lack of dermatologists at district and communal clinics, while local people have little knowledge of the disease, which keeps them from receiving prompt diagnosis and treatment. 

They also voiced concern about the appearance of some rare skin diseases in the region. 

Participants agreed on the need to increase training for local medical workers and expand educational campaigns on leprosy in remote areas, while focusing efforts on detecting new cases and preventing the spread of infection. 

Vietnam is implementing a national programme of action with the aim of eradicating leprosy by 2015.
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