The Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) is the first civic authority in the world to act as an implementing agency of the World Bank-sponsored national leprosy eradication programme in a city area.
On Wednesday, an MoU was signed by the state government and the CMC to bring down the incidence of leprosy from four to less than one per 10,000 population in the city. Health minister Surya Kanta Mishra, mayor Subrata Mukherjee and member, mayor-in-council (health), Javed Ahmed Khan, were present.
The thrust of the programme is to eradicate leprosy by 2004. To achieve this, the CMC will open leprosy clinics in each of its 141 wards, where treatment and medicine will be free. Fifty-two clinics have already started functioning in the city.
According to district technical support coordinator Monojit Kulabhi, the World Health Organisation is offering technical guidance to the scheme, while Sasakawa Memorial of Japan is supplying medicines for the multi-drug therapy. “It will cost around Rs 300 to cure a leprosy-afflicted person,” he added.
Pointing to the weak civic health infrastructure, minister Mishra warned of the tendency of a section of officers to under-report figures, as it would frustrate the primary object of the programme. “I will be glad if more cases are registered”, Mishra said.