The Ministry of Health has proudly announced that the Maldives has achieved a remarkable milestone by becoming the world’s first country to interrupt the transmission of leprosy. This prestigious recognition was bestowed upon the Maldives at the World Health Organization (WHO) Southeast Asia Regional Meeting held in New Delhi, India.
The distinguished award, acknowledging the nation’s success in preventing the spread of leprosy, was presented to the Maldives by Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, the Regional Director of WHO for Southeast Asia. Minister of Health Ahmed Naseem accepted the honor on behalf of the Maldivian people during the event.
The Ministry of Health took the opportunity to express its heartfelt congratulations to the dedicated healthcare professionals who worked tirelessly to achieve this momentous milestone. Their unwavering commitment and efforts were instrumental in freeing the nation from the clutches of this debilitating disease.
In 2019, the Maldivian government launched the ambitious “Zero Leprosy” program, with the primary goal of eliminating leprosy from the country by 2030. Unfortunately, the program faced delays due to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the persistence and dedication of healthcare teams have borne fruit, making the Maldives the first country globally to officially eliminate leprosy transmission, marking a significant victory over the contagious disease.
Leprosy is a debilitating condition that affects the skin, peripheral nerves, mucosal surfaces of the upper respiratory tract, and eyes. Thankfully, the disease can be effectively treated with multi-drug therapy when diagnosed early. Leprosy can affect individuals of all ages, from early childhood to old age. The Maldives’ pioneering efforts in interrupting leprosy transmission serve as a beacon of hope in the global fight against this ancient disease.