Tata Steel facilitates Public-Private Initiative to Address Leprosy
Tata Steel Family Initiatives Foundation (TSFIF), an operating arm of Corporate Sustainability Services, Tata Steel, in partnership with the Govt. of Jharkhand, organized a one-day workshop on initiatives taken to address leprosy. The workshop was held at Tribal Culture Centre, Sonari. The key objective of the workshop was to share learnings from the decade-long implementation of leprosy programmes and to explore the way forward, in consultation with senior representatives from the government and other non-government organisations.
Addressing the workshop, Dr H B Barwar, State Leprosy Officer, Jharkhand, said that the concerted effort to check the rate of prevalence of leprosy, particularly among children, has been intensified and that measures like capacity building of medical officers for timely diagnosis and treatment has been initiated. These have helped in improving the quality of medical services in treating leprosy. As on March 2012, in Jharkhand, the prevalence rate (per 10,000 population) is 0.59 which is less than the national average of 0.72.
Dr P V Ranganadha Rao, LEPRA India emphasized upon the importance of completing prescribed course of MDT to treat leprosy. Dr Rao lauded the services provided by SPARSH centre in Jamadoba, a joint intervention of Tata Steel Rural Development Society and LEPRA India, in spreading awareness and aiding in the eradication of this disease.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Atul Kumar, Sasakawa India, Leprosy Foundation, shared with the attendees, the socio-economic rehabilitation program aimed at creating and enhancing the income generation opportunities for the rehabilitated population affected with leprosy. These solutions, he said, are feasible, viable, marketable and sustainable.
Dr S P Sood, ILEP State Coordinator, Jharkhand narrated cases to explain the linkage between disability and societal discrimination. He also stated the importance of PoD (prevention of disability) measures.
Dr T P Madhusudanan, General Manager, Medical Services welcomed the gathering. Mr Biren Ramesh Bhuta, Chief, Corporate Sustainability Services informed that Tata Steel runs a centre for treating leprosy patients at Jamadoba and deliberated on the methods in which this issue is being addressed there. He further reinforced the importance of public private initiatives in addressing health issues. Mr Bhuta thanked the state and the district health officials, the representatives from civil society and the programme team for their role in addressing the issue of leprosy.
Government officials, members of NGO, members of Civil Society and others also shared their experiences regarding the disease and methods of eradicating it.
Leprosy is a leading cause of permanent physical disability. While the incidences of leprosy in India have reduced to below one for every 10,000 people, the country is committed to eliminating the disease by continual leprosy control activities.