Sindh Minister for Health, Dr Sikandar Ali Mandhro has sought public support to eradicate leprosy and associated stigma.
Addressing a ceremony to commemorate World Leprosy Day, he appreciated that leprosy elimination was being successfully achieved in the country.
“Elimination is, however, not the end of Leprosy,” said the minister and a senior medical care provider. “There are many challenges in terms of physical and social rehabilitation, which will go on even in the post-elimination phase,” said Sikandar Ali Mandhro.
Reiterating that Leprosy elimination does not mean that disease may have been wiped out, he appealed to the people to do away with the stigma attached to the disease and tendency to ostracise the sufferer. “The stigma attached to the disease and trend to ostracise prevent many of the patients from seeking needed treatment hence preventing chances to eradicate the bacteria from the roots,” elaborated the health minister.
Sindh health minister said there was a need to create public awareness to minimise the burden of this disease.
He on the occasion felicitated Dr Ruth Pfau and her dedicated team and assured to extend all government support for their varied projects including rehabilitation of physically disabled and prevention of blindness besides eradication of leprosy.
Sikandar Ali Mandhoro particularly appreciating Dr Ruth Pfau said she was a living legend and the services she rendered for the people suffering from leprosy during the past more than 50 years can never be forgotten by the people of the country in general and Sindh in particular.
The minister said World Leprosy Day not only symbolises feelings of togetherness with patients affected by Leprosy but also provides an opportunity to renew our commitment to a Leprosy free world.
Dr Ruth Pfau, Founder of Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre (MALC), Mervyn Lono and senior board members of MALC, patients and people from all walks of life attended the program.