Lilongwe District Health Office (DHO) registered 13 cases of leprosy between January and May 2023, a development that points to the fact that Hansen’s disease is fast resurfacing in Malawi.
A dermatologist at Lilongwe DHO, Dingase Ngongonda, said the rise in cases of the disease could be a result of the awareness healthcare workers have recently mounted in the district.
But Ngongonda disclosed that while there is increased detection, the number of people defaulting treatment keeps rising thereby posing a serious risk of disability and further transmission of the disease.
Until 2022, Malawi had not been recording leprosy cases for 30 years. A total of 36 cases have been registered in Lilongwe alone.
Meanwhile, Ngongonda has revealed that her office is working towards expanding its personnel and enhance contact-tracing efforts.
She emphasized the need for adherence to treatment, as an untreated individual becomes a focal point for the transmission of the disease.
Leprosy, if left untreated, can lead to various forms of disability. Therefore, it is crucial for individuals diagnosed with leprosy to complete their prescribed medication and follow medical advice closely.
Additionally, raising awareness about the disease and promoting early detection is essential to curbing its spread.