DUSAHNBE, September 19, Asia-Plus - A two-day conference dedicated to the 70 th anniversary of Tajikistan’s ant-leprosy service opened in Dushanbe on September 19.   

The conference participants include specialists from Armenia, Russia, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Tajikistan.  The conference is aiming to consider issues related to modern methods of detecting and treating this disease. 

On the sideline of the conference, its participants are also scheduled to visit hospital for lepers in Hissor.  

The ongoing conference was staged by Tajikistan’s ministry of health, clinic for cutaneous and venereal diseases under financial support of German organization to fight leprosy and tuberculosis, WHO, pharmaceutical firm “Gedeon Richter”, Tajik branch of Open Society Institute/Assistance Foundation (OSI/AF) and the Aga Khan Foundation.  

The conference is expected to result in adoption of resolution.

First Deputy Tajik Health Minister, Abumuslim Temurov, said in his interview with Asia-Plus that only two new cases of leprosy have been revealed in Tajikistan since 2001.  According to him, the first nationwide events to prevent spread of this disease in Tajikistan were launched in 1936, and the hospital of lepers was also built in the country the same year.  The major number of leprosy sufferers (63.8 percent) was revealed in Tajikistan from 1958 to 1967.  “After that the disease has shown a downward tendency in Tajikistan, and only isolated cases have been reported,” Temurov said.  

As of June 1, 2006, 93 leprosy patients have been reported in Tajikistan.  22 percent of them are undergoing treatment in the hospital for lepers, and the rest are under observation of the health center.   “To date, the leprosy rate in Tajikistan has been 1.3 percent per 100,000 people,” Tajik health official noted.  

According to him, Tajikistan’s government and health ministry pay great attention to this problem.  “Since 2003, they have provided more than 200,000 somonis to improve living conditions of leprosy sufferers, and further 250,000 somonis have been provided to rehabilitate the water supply system at the hospital for lepers in Hissor,” Temurov said.