Acting Director General of Disease Prevention and Control Dr.dr. Maxi Rein Rondonuwu, DHSM. MARS stated that the prevalence of new cases of leprosy in children tends to be high. “Cases in children must be a concern because they are going to school, the risk of transmission to friends in school and the social impact that exists. This should be a concern of how we handle it,” said dr. Maxi.
Secretary of the Morbus Hansen Indonesia Study Group (KSMHI) Perdoski dr. Zunarsih Sp.KK explained that leprosy is infectious diseases chronic disease caused by leprosy germs (mycobacterium leprae). Leprosy is transmitted through the respiratory tract. The initial symptoms of leprosy are marked by the appearance of red or white patches on the skin. If left untreated, leprosy has the potential to cause disability which often causes discrimination to both the sufferer and the family.
“If they are not immediately found and treated, it will get stigma and discrimination for life. If the condition of their hands is broken, they are already kittens. How can they go to school well, when they grow up how can they work well,” he explained.
As a handling step, the Director of Direct Communicable Disease Control and Prevention dr. Siti Nadia Tarmizi, M.Epid, said that the Ministry of Health has deployed cadres at the Puskesmas to conduct case finding as early as possible so that it can be treated immediately. Screening is carried out at home, school and in the neighborhood.
“We usually carry out examinations for school children, this is integrated with the UKS program. If we find a child who is positive for leprosy, we can do a contact check, especially his family or teachers at school,” said dr. Nadia.
Furthermore, the patient is treated. For wet type leprosy, you have to take medicine for 12 months, while for dry type you have to take medicine for 6 months. For this reason, patient compliance with medication is the key to curing leprosy.
In addition, the Ministry of Health is also actively promoting health to increase understanding that the presence of white and red spots is not an ordinary spot, but requires further treatment at the health facility.