Programmes initiated to control it

It is a chromic infectious disease caused by bacteria called mycobacterium separate. It affects mainly peripheral nerves. It also affects skins, muscles, eyes, bones, internal organs etc.

To control the spread of this disease, National Leprosy Control Programme was launched by the government in 1955, based on Dapsone monotherapy. Later on multi drug therapy came into wide use from 1982 and the programme was re-designated as the National Leprosy Eradication Programme in 1983. This programme was expanded with World Bank assistance and its first phase starting from 1993-94 and ended in March 2000.

The second phase of world Bank supported national leprosy elimination project started from 1 April 2001 for a period of three years with the objective to achieves elimination of leprosy as a public health problem by 2005, and there by reducing the case load to less than 1/ 10000 population.


During the second phase of National Leprosy Elimination, the National Leprosy Elimination project was decentralized to states and districts. The Leprosy services were also integrated with general health care system. Now, free multi Drug Therapy is available at all sub centers, primary health centers and the government hospitals and dispensaries at all working days.

Under Multi Drug Therapy, the leprosy patients are treated or cured within 12 months and patients no longer remain infectious to others after the first dose of Multi Drug Treatment. Four Nation wide modified Leprosy Elimination campaigns have been conducted from 1998-2003 to create mass community awareness about leprosy.

The fifth modified leprosy Elimination campaigns was also implemented in the eight priority states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, West Bengal, Chhatisgarh, Uttar Pradesh Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh in 2003-04. During the campaign more than 50 lakh cases of leprosy were detected and put under MOT.

The National Health Policy had set the goal of elimination of leprosy by the year 2005. India has also achieved this goal of elimination as a public health problem at the national level in the month of December 2005 where the recorded prevalence rate in the country was 0.95/10000 population.


By the march 2006, the prevalence rate of leprosy in the country further declined to 0.84/10000 population and 26 states and UTs have also achieved the goal of leprosy elimination. Since its introduction in 1983, Multi Drug therapy has cured more than 11 million leprosy patients and as a result the deformity rate in leprosy patients has declined to less than 2% This programme will continue to achieve elimination of leprosy in the remaining districts and blocks through existing multi Drug therapy services with focused attention on endemic districts and localities. The focus of the programme will also be on increasing the number of institutions for providing Re-Constructive surgery services to Leprosy disabled persons.