National program to fight leprosyA big success [Archives:2003/649/Health]

July 10 2003

Yasser Mohammed Al-Mayyasi
Leprosy is one of the diseases which all world health organizations and authorities are unanimous to eradicate.
Yemen is one of the 125 world countries in where the disease is widely spread. Thus, the national program for fighting leprosy was established. In 1989, the first agreement was signed between Yemen Public Health ministry and the German organization for fighting leprosy. The work started through this typical project in three governorates; Taiz, Ibb and Thamar.
After the Yemeni unification the campaign for fighting and eradicating leprosy has extended to the eastern and western governorates and then to Hodeidah and other northern provinces to include all the Yemeni cities.
The program, along with Yemeni association for elimination of leprosy could successfully eradicate the disease. Those efforts have reduced the percentage of infection to two patients in each 10 thousand citizens.
With extensive and continuous field-work in the effort for fighting the disease, the percentage of infection dropped to 3 patients out of 100 thousand citizens. This percentage is tremendous, that few countries in Middle East have reached, such as Egypt, Sudan and Syria.
The annual report of 2002 about fighting leprosy and other diseases issued (who issued it and when?) affirmed success of the Yemeni health authorities' efforts in this field to the extent that Yemen was granted the “Horshai Sasako” prize.
The Yemeni association for fighting leprosy, chaired by Dr. Abdulaleem al-Qubati, the supervisor at the hospital of venereal and dermatological diseases in Taiz City, managed to eradicate this disease.
Because of its tangible efforts, the association has deserved the prize that is $80 thousand. This prize is granted to all the distinguished non-governmental associations and others supporting health activities and upgrading services all over the world.
The final annual report on the program of fighting leprosy in Yemen, confirmed those 14 training courses that the Public Health Ministry has implemented in various governorates of Yemen throughout the year 2002 and spread awareness via various means.
The report assured that the hospital of venereal and dermatological diseases in Taiz, which offers services to the leprosy patients, had established 6 clinics in 2002, and those clinics render their services to the leprosy and tuberculosis patients and motherhood and childhood and family planning as well.
Those clinics focus their mainly on the 301888 poor patients. Three volunteer surgeons from Austria have visited the hospital till the end of 2002.
A lunatic asylum has been still under construction in Hadramout with a total area estimated at 20.000 square km.
The land has been fenced with an overall cost estimated at YR. 3.387.700.