Dhaka – Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called upon the owners of major pharmaceutical companies to distribute medicine among leprosy patients free of cost as her government targeted elimination of the infectious disease by 2030.
“I would like to request them (owners of pharmaceutical companies) to produce the specialised medicines that are needed for the leprosy patients and make arrangements to distribute those among the patients free of cost,” Hasina said.
She was inaugurating the National Conference-2019 on “Zero Leprosy Initiative by 2030” at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka on Wednesday.
The Prime Minister said the pharmaceutical industries’ assistance will help reach the target fast as many Bangladeshi companies produce world-class medicines and export them to the international markets.
Bangladesh has more than 3,000 leprosy cases as of now. The patients of this bacteria-infection disease were often surrounded by negative stigma and tales of leprosy once shunned them as outcast.
Terming the persons suffering from leprosy as a part of the society, the prime minister urged the people to treat them with humanitarian outlook.
She underscored the need for creating social awareness and discarding negative mentality about the leprosy-affected people.
“If anybody is diagnosed with leprosy, you’ll have to treat him or her with sympathy and make arrangements for treatment so he or she could be cured … it’s very much necessary,” she said.
Hasina called upon all concerned including health department officials and field-level staffs to strengthen the national leprosy activities to build a leprosy-free society before 2030.
There is no alternative to employment for ensuring development of all persons with disabilities for leprosy, she said.
“People affected with leprosy must not be sacked from a job, rather a conducive working environment for the disabled people must be created,” she said.
Health Minister Zahid Maleque presided over the function, while Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Health and Family Welfare Ministry Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim and Chairman of the Nippon Foundation of Japan and WHO Goodwill Ambassador Yohei Sasakawa were present as the special guests.
Secretary of the Health Services Division Md Asadul Islam delivered the welcome address.