Magazine article UN Chronicle

WHO Vows to Eradicate Leprosy by Year 2000

Magazine article UN Chronicle

WHO Vows to Eradicate Leprosy by Year 2000

Article excerpt

The World Health Organization (WHO) has committed itself to the eradication of leprosy as a public health problem by the year 2000. Some 1,000 delegates from 166 WHO members States at the forty-fourth World Health Assembly 6- 16 May, Geneva) urged increased multi-drug therapy and case-finding activities in the 93 nations where leprosy is endemic.

Two thirds of all registered leprosy cases in the world are in Africa. Countries with a significant population of registered leprosy patients include India, Brazil, Nigeria, Myanmar and Indonesia, but the severe social stigma attached to the disease has created a large pool of unreported cases worldwide.

Noting severe cholera epidemics in Peru and other Latin American countries, the Assembly asked for a coordinated global effort to control the disease. Countries were urged to report immediately any cases of cholera. As of 14 June, 1,726 cholera deaths had been reported in Peru.

The Assembly adopted 43 resolutions on issues ranging from prevention of child mortality due to pneumonia and accelerated research and development of children's vaccines to increased efforts against tuberculosis, Guinea worm disease and smoking in enclosed public places and public transport.

In a resolution on the health situation of displaced persons in Iraq and neighbouring countries, the Assembly asked WHO to help affected countries set up "effective epidemiological surveillance of communicable diseases" and to assist them in keeping those diseases under control.

Other issues discussed included the urban health crisis, the crucial role of women in health and development, and the continuing spread of AIDS.

Only through a new "peopleoriented" approach can WHO'S goal of "Health For All" by the year 2000 and beyond be attained, Dr. Hiroshi Nakajima, WHO Director-General, told the Assembly on 7 May. …

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