The National Leprosy Eradication Programme is a centrally sponsored Health Scheme of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India. The Programme is headed by the Deputy Director of Health Services (Leprosy ) under the administrative control of the Directorate General Health Services Govt. of India. While the NLEP strategies and plans are formulated centrally, the programme is implemented by the States/UTs. The Programme is also supported as Partners by the World Health Organization, The International Federation of Anti-leprosy Associations (ILEP) and few othe Non-Govt. Organizations.
Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae. It usually affects the skin and peripheral nerves, but has a wide range of clinical manifestations. The disease is characterized by long incubation period generally 5-7 years and is classified as paucibacillary or mulitbacillary, depending on the bacillary load. Leprosy is a leading cause of permanent physical disability. Timely diagnosis and treatment of cases, before nerve damage has occurred, is the most effective way of preventing disability due to leprosy.
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