National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) today asked all states to take steps to eradicate discrimination faced by leprosy patients and reintegrate such people into society. Inaugurating the National Conference on Leprosy in New Delhi this morning, NHRC Chairperson Justice K G Balakrishnan said that the Commission is deeply concerned about the human rights of the people affected with leprosy as they face stigma and discrimination in society despite the fact that leprosy is curable.He said that all efforts have to be made by various stakeholders to spread awareness about the facts related to the disease and break the myths attached with it. The aim of the Conference is to make an assessment of action taken by the concerned departments of Central and state governments with regard to recommendations given by the NHRC during the last conference in 2012.
Participants include representatives of central and state governments, state human rights commissions, and health experts. Leprosy prevalence has drastically reduced in India and as per latest statistics, there is a prevalence ratio of 0.73 per 10,000 population. Barring a few districts, mostly in Chhattisgarh and Odisha, all states have attained significant reduction in new incidence of leprosy cases. In the year 2005, India achieved the WHO elimination level of having less than one patient per 10000 population at the national level.