Indian Association of Dermatologists, Venereologists & Leprologists (IADVL) announced the inauguration of its 48th Annual National Conference DERMACON 2020 on in Pune on the World Leprosy Day.
The 4-day conference will witness doctors and the medical fraternity addressing Derma led grave diseases like Leprosy, Vitiligo, and abuse of steroid-based medicines. The conference, which is attended by world-renowned doctors, including 31 international faculties and more than 400 faculties from India, will also address the lack of awareness and abuse of steroid-based ointments, medicines which are being purchased over the counter from medical or general stores.
In recent years India has reached a pandemic where such skin diseases have become steroid-resistant and more and more cases are being reported.
Leprosy eradication is another key topic that will be deliberated at the conference. Although WHO declared India leprosy free in 2005, a resurgence of the disease has now made the country home for the largest incidence with 66 percent of the global cases.
Addressing a media conference before the opening of the conference, IADVL leadership took a pledge to spread awareness and work towards the eradication of Leprosy in India. Studies show that two out of every three new global leprosy cases are detected in India currently. It was revealed that in Maharashtra itself there are 16000 new cases reported every year out of which 4500 cases are from Nagpur itself. The active districts where leprosy is widespread in the state are Thane, Raigad, Vidharbh, and Palghar, there are cases reported because of the tribal belt. The resurgence was reported first in UP in 2012 with 20000 new cases followed by Bihar with 18000 new cases every year.
Dermacon is one of IADVL’s initiatives to educate and communicate the people about the disease, said the president Dr.P Narasimha Rao.
“It is time we face the harsh reality that leprosy is coming back, and it can be tackled only by collaborative efforts. To make India truly leprosy free – we all need to have a correct understanding of leprosy and compassion toward those with the disease. It is only then that leprosy patients will seek treatment and will be able to live with respect in the society,” Rao added.
Dr. Kiran Godse, President-Elect of IADVL reiterated the fact that there is a lot of stigma and isolation which is associated with leprosy which is very harsh for the patients and their families have to endure it.
“Patients are abandoned not just by society but their families as well and in India, it’s very sad to see that even the law doesn’t show any compassion towards them. Today, through the efforts of research and science, leprosy is a curable disease if detected early and for that, the drugs are also distributed free of charge. Fearful of being diagnosed, people often do not go to clinics or hospitals because of the stigma related to the disease. This therefore is one of the biggest obstacles to early diagnosis and treatment thereafter,” he said.
“Despite the fact that early diagnosis is 100 percent curable and prevents further deformity and spread of the disease, the fact that leprosy can be treated with drugs, just like other diseases. The people who are suffering, continue to face discrimination to the extent that they are separated from their families; children are unable to attend school; a few lose their jobs; and a few who have missed out on the chance of getting married. Even after their recovery they are still termed as ‘ex-leprosy patients’ and are looked down upon,” said Dr. Anil Patki, a leprosy specialist in Pune.