Apr 24, 2014, 6:51 am (BST)
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WHO's leprosy ambassador arrives in city
DHAKA, April 11 (BSS) -The WHO's Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy Yohei Sasakawa arrived in the city today for a four-day visit to Bangladesh, according to a press release.

Sasakawa, a Japanese national, will visit different places and see for himself the development in the elimination of leprosy, a disease in the tropical and sub-tropical region caused by bacteria. He will leave Dhaka on April 14.

It is a slowly progressing bacterial infection that affects the skin, peripheral nerves in the hands and feet, and mucous membranes of the nose, throat, and eyes.

Bangladesh has made considerable advances in curbing leprosy, but for those who have the disease; associated stigma is more difficult to tackle.

Leprosy can be easily treated with multi-drug therapy (MDT) if diagnosed early, and is endemic in 121 countries, including Bangladesh, according to World Health Organization (WHO).

The good will ambassador of the World Health Organization will also visit the Salvation Army Urban Health Development Project and Leprosy Clinic at Mirpur.

Sasakawa is Chairman of The Nippon Foundation, a private, non-profit foundation established in 1962 for the purpose of carrying out philanthropic activities.

Globally, there are 17 countries that reported 1,000 plus new cases at the end of 2010 and six of these 17 countries are from south-East Asia region of WHO. In the beginning of 2011, the regional prevalence rate was 0.63 per 10,000 populations with a total of 113,750 cases on treatment in the region.

According to the figure, Bangladesh has a total case of 3,848, India 126,800, Indonesia 17,012, Myanmar 2,936, Nepal 3,118 and Sri Lanka 2,027.
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