Preliminary data from the Ministry of Health indicate that, in 2022, more than 17,000 new cases of leprosy were diagnosed in Brazil. In 2021, the number of records reached 18,000 cases, with 11.2% of patients considered as grade 2 of physical disability – when injuries considered serious are identified in the eyes, hands and feet. The Ministry of Health reinforces that the disease has a cure.
The survey was carried out by the Ministry of Health and Environment Surveillance (SVSA). According to the Minister of Health, Nísia Trindade, the data warn of the importance of awareness and attention to the first symptoms. Currently, Brazil is part of the list of 23 priority countries for leprosy defined by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The data also show that Brazil has more than 90% of the number of new notifications in the American continent. Due to the high number of annual records, the disease is still considered a public health problem. Compulsory notification and investigation of suspected cases is a mandatory measure stipulated by the Ministry of Health.
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Since the 1980s, the Ministry has adopted measures to prevent and destigmatize the disease, such as, for example, banning the term “leprosy”. In this context, it invested in awareness campaigns to instruct society. In addition, in the country, since 2009, law No. 12,135 establishes the last Sunday of January as the National Day for Combating and Preventing Leprosy. The date is a time to reinforce attention to symptoms and inform about the treatments available in the public health network.
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