GUWAHATI, July 25 � Assam is set for a major transformation vis-�-vis leprosy eradication as it plans to perform a record number of reconstructive surgeries in the current financial year, even as three of its districts, including Dibrugarh, Sivasagar and Tinsukia, remain endemic (above 10 per cent is considered as high endemic) to the deadly bacteria.
As part of the National Leprosy Eradication Programme, Assam now aims to conduct nearly 200 such surgeries till the end of this financial year, and assistance of experts from West Bengal has already been sought in this regard.
Last year, only 16 such operations were performed in the State.
These experts will work in tandem with the specialists at the GMCH as part of the initiative so that the frequency of such surgeries is increased.
Notably, the State since 2009 has carried out just 57 reconstructive surgeries.
Dr Anjan Das, Joint Director of Health Services (Leprosy) told this reporter that the State is going all out against the disease and a number of initiatives to eliminate it are in the offing.
�Early detections are what we are aiming at. This in turn will cut down the rate of disabilities among the people, which is the instant goal,� Dr Das said.
With the backlog of patients in need of such surgeries remaining high, the government sector is now for providing exposure to the doctors at the GMCH, which remains the only government institute where such surgeries are performed.
Borgong Catholic Hospital, which is run by an NGO and located in Tezpur, is the only other place where such operations are done.
Significantly, the number of reconstructive surgeries performed at the Catholic Hospital is much higher than the Government sector. In the current financial year, while the Catholic Hospital has already performed 21 surgeries, the tally will touch just eight at the GMCH by early next month.
The State, in the year 2013-14, has detected 1,048 new cases of leprosy, of which 97 were child cases. The figure stood at 1,147 in 2012-13 during which 106 child cases were reported.
Dr Das also mentioned that for the three districts where the disease is endemic, a holistic plan of screening will be launched.