Health ministry working to dispel myths about leprosy
Stabroek News
January 25, 2004

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The Ministry of Health is trying to dispel the myths behind leprosy as negative attitudes towards the disease remain in communities throughout Guyana.

A press release from the Government Information Agency (GINA) noted that the 51st anniversary of World Leprosy Day is being observed today under the theme 'Keeping Leprosy under Control.'

It quoted acting Minister of Health Dr Jennifer Westford as saying the day is usually a time for reflection and analysis of Hansen's disease.

Westford says Guyana does give leprosy attention, however a major challenge remains to control and eliminate the stigma associated with the disease.

She states there is a general rejection of leprosy that is common in most societies, but community participation must be improved if the disease is to be combatted successfully.

According to Westford, the government is putting its weight behind the fight to kill off leprosy.

Most notable is its commitment to integrate the Leprosy Control Unit in the primary health care system.

The ministry is continually strengthening epidemiological surveillance and is also upgrading the infrastructural operational aspect of the leprosy programme in various regions the release said.