He was speaking at an awareness programme organised by the taluk Health Department aimed to eradicate leprosy in the taluk, at the premises of the Primary Health Centre here on Saturday.
Dr Narayanswamy said, the Health Department has organised a special programme for the eradication of leprosy. In order to encourage the volunteers of Asha, who are actively involved in community services, the department has announced a cash reward of Rs 100. This initiative will also encourage the volunteers to identify the patients suffering from leprosy.
He said, leprosy was like any other disease. Not every person is affected by this. More than 95 per cent of the people have the strength and immunity to fight against leprosy, naturally. When a leprosy-affected patient sneezes or coughs, there are chances that it spreads to the others also.
In the last 10 years, a total of 18,000 leprosy patients have been cured of the disease. Treatment and medicine are available at all the Government Hospitals, free of cost. The public should be made aware of the general symptoms of leprosy. Efforts should be made to ensure that the society should overcome the stigma attached to the disease, the taluk health officer informed.
Inaugurating the programme, member of the Zilla Panchayat Balaji Chennaiah said, the volunteers of Asha were playing a very important role in community health services. By identifying the persons suffering from leprosy in the taluk, they will be making a very important service to the society, he added.
Since they interact a lot with the people, they are more aware of their problems and sufferings. By joining hands with the Health Department, they can play a positive role in providing valuable information to the department, which can go a long way in formulating new health programmes, he opined.
President of the Taluk Panchayat V B Udayshankar, who was the chief guest on the occasion, he said, the volunteers of Asha had additional responsibilities. Apart from identifying leprosy patients, they can also play a crucial role in creating awareness on various other diseases.
Their efforts and dedication and their co-operation to the Health Department will go a long way to achieving a disease-free society. It was necessary for them to serve the society with care and concern, he added.
Later, an awareness and training programme was organised for the volunteers, in which they were explained about the methods to identify the symptoms of leprosy, on providing valid information to the Health Department, on ways to mingle and interact with the general public, counselling and several other related issues.
The volunteers also interacted with the doctors and clarified their doubts. Dr Abdul Woodi Sharief and others were present on the occasion.