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Jakarta Post

Early detection finds new leprosy cases: City Health Agency

  • Callistasia Anggun Wijaya
    Callistasia Anggun Wijaya

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, November 15, 2017   /   01:00 pm
Early detection finds new leprosy cases: City Health Agency A hospital staff member assists a leprosy patient cast his vote in West Kalimantan's Singkawang mayoral election. (JP/Severianus Endi)

A recent Jakarta Health Agency report on leprosy prevalence has recorded a relatively high number of new cases this year through the implementation of early detection, even though the capital had been declared leprosy-free in 2011, the agency's head said in a statement on Wednesday.

Health Agency head Koesmedi Priharto said 311 people were diagnosed with the disease this year, with the largest number of cases occurring in East Jakarta. Of these, 71 percent were newly diagnosed patients that did not show any visible disabilities.

The progressive nature of the chronic, yet curable, disease can lead to permanent nerve damage and muscular paralysis if it is left untreated. 

The Cakung, Cilincing and Kramat Jati districts of East Jakarta had the highest number of leprosy cases, followed by Kalideres district in West Jakarta. 

"In 2017, the number of new patients is high because we actively conducted early detection, so the people affected won't develop disabilities," Koesmedi said in a statement on Wednesday.

The patients were being treated at eight early treatment centers, including one at the Jatinegara community health center. Former leprosy patients and nurses associations were involved in providing care for the patients, Koesmedi added.

Also on Wednesday, Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan met with Yohei Sasakawa, the chairman of the Nippon Foundation and WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy Elimination, and spoke about cooperation to eradicate the disease. 

"I have visited hospitals in Jakarta that are committed to eradicating the disease. If [the city] needs assistance, we will be ready to help," Sasakawa said at City Hall.