Mozambique's national director of the Leprosy Control Programme at MISAU, Francisco Guilengue, has said the country is reporting an increase in the number of leprosy cases.
The official said over the past three years, the Ministry of Health and its partners have strengthened the leprosy control programme that culminated in the diagnosis of 2,500 new cases last year, a number which represents an increase of 29.7 percent compared to the previous year when 1,928 cases were diagnosed.
"We reduced infection rates or prevalence, but by 2015 we still had some leprosy cases, we are talking about 20 districts that still had high prevalence," Guilengue told state-controlled at Radio Mozambique.on the occasion of World Leprosy Day.
He added that partner support has reduced since Mozambique was declared free of the disease in 2008.
"After the elimination, we were in a group of 17 countries where we reported 1,000 to 1,200 cases a year; we are talking until 2013 and 2014," he said.
But with the activation of activities at the community level and thanks to the support given by non-governmental organizations and civil society to the community level, there has been an increase in the number of cases diagnosed.
"In 2015 we reached about 1,500 patients and in 2016 around 1,800 and 2017 1,928. At this moment, we have 2,500 cases that we registered in 2018, "he said.
The deputy Minister of Health, João Leopoldo da Costa, who led the central ceremonies for World Leprosy Day in Sussundenga, in Mozambique's central Manica Province, called for a reflection on actions to eradicate the disease.
"The world is called to think of the lepers and think what to do to combat and eradicate leprosy," Da Costa said.
One of the oldest known diseases, first mentioned in written records in 600 BC, leprosy still affects millions of people.
Between 200,000 and 300,000 new leprosy cases have been detected globally every year since 2005, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).