South Kalimantan records spike in leprosy cases

Paringin, South Kalimantan (ANTARA News) - Cases of leprosy continue to increase in Balangan district, South Kalimantan, according to local Health Office Chief Humam Arifin.

"The number of patients with leprosy continues to increase from eight cases in 2014 to 14 cases in 2015, thus it has become a disease that is still feared by society and even by health workers themselves," Arifin remarked in the Balangan district town of Paringin on Tuesday.

He noted that with the discovery of 14 new cases last year, the total count of leprosy patients undergoing treatment this time reaches 25 people, or 1.2 percent of the 10 thousand population of Balangan district.

According to Arifin, leprosy is a complex infectious disease arising due to problems not only related to the medical side but also extends to social issues, culture, security, and social resilience.

Arifin stated that the publics knowledge and understanding of leprosy is still low, especially coupled with the erroneous belief against the disease and disabilities it causes.

Further, he affirmed that effective and integrated leprosy control measures can be implemented to improve healthcare through examination, early detection, treatment, and care, so that the number of cases of the disease can be reduced.

"Through integrated and comprehensive control, the number of new cases this year is expected to reduce," he emphasized.

In addition, Arifin encouraged the local community to always adopt a clean and healthy lifestyle since an unclean environment is one of the triggers of the disease caused by the "mycobacterium leprae."(*)

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