Dermatologists combat leprosy in Yemen


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Abstract

BackgroundLeprosy has been prevalent in Yemen for many years. The ostracization and stigmatization of leprosy patients are well documented in the Yemeni literature. No control activities were carried out until 1980.AimTo document the development of leprosy control activities in the Republic of Yemen during the period from 1982 to 1996.Materials and methodsThe dermatologists in Yemen used various methods, including the media, to fight the stigma of leprosy and thus to mobilize the community for the reintegration of leprosy patients. They sought support from international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to start mobile teams all over the country.ResultsThe support of the German Leprosy Relief Association (GLRA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) enabled the National Leprosy Control Program (NLCP) to reach people in remote areas. The prevalence of leprosy has declined from 1.9 per 10,000 population in 1989 to 0.5 per 10,000 population in 1996.ConclusionsThe stigma associated with leprosy also extends to other skin diseases. To combat this stigma, various methods, such as health education, training of medical personnel, and mass treatment for skin diseases, have been used.

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