Leprosy is a disease with a high level of stigma. In cases where the nerves are involved, the affected people end up with loss of sensation and paralysis of the muscles of their hands and feet, which remains for life. This makes them prone to repeated injuries and inability to pursue their vocation.
Fulfillment Of Objective And Subsequent Transition
Over the years, the prevalence of leprosy came down from about 54 cases per 1000 population to 0.69 per 10,000 populations. Also with the changes in treatment modality and availability of new drugs, the need for hospitalization reduced.
The hospital has 60 beds for admission. Till about 1995, all the beds used to be occupied. However, as years went by, there have been a lot of changes in the approach and treatment of leprosy. Most important among these are:
Increased awareness in the community, so that people present themselves early for diagnosis, thus preventing the occurrence of complications and deformities.
Management of complications of leprosy on domiciliary basis, thus reducing the need for hospitalization.
Awareness and support by government programs to remove the stigma towards the disease and integrating it with the general health program.
Thus, it was found that only 30 beds would suffice for the management of leprosy cases.
In view of these changes, it was decided that we would gradually step into other needy areas and try to fill the gap in the existing health system. This meant catering to those areas of health care which could not be completely covered by the public health system. It was decided to initially start general health services at a cost that would be affordable by the poorer and middle income communities.
With this in view the following services were started in a phased manner:
2002 - general hospital unit with special focus on maternity
2003 – free mobile clinics to villages and urban slums
2005 - dental unit
2006 - ophthalmology unit
2008 – prosthetic & orthotic unit
2013- Outreach clinic in rural areas.