May 5, 2010
Amrita School of Medicine, Kochi
About 150 graduate students and young doctors at the Health Sciences campus in Kochi attended a one-day CME on Leprosy on April 11, 2010.
This was the first time a CME on Leprosy was organized at Amrita. “We conducted this for the benefit of those who have minimum experience in the field of leprosy,” stated Dr. Dharmaratnam, Professor and HoD, Department of Dermatology.
Nearly twenty-five professors and consultants, experienced in the treatment of this skin disease, from different parts of Kerala as well as Tamil Nadu were invited as speakers. “Their talks helped students gain a keen insight into the subject,” added Dr. Dharmaratnam.
In Kerala, there has been a recent surge in the number of patients with leprosy, seeking treatment. “This may be due to the influx of migrant workers from states in other parts of India,” opined Dr. Dharmaratnam.
If treated in the early stages, leprosy is completely curable and leaves no deformities. A chronic infectious disease, leprosy is caused by Mycobacterium Leprae that affect the skin and nerves with anesthetic patches and nerve enlargement.
Leprosy is treatable, but due to misconceptions and myths, often leprosy patients are shunned and ostracized from society. Worldwide, it is estimated that 2-3 million people are permanently disabled due to leprosy. India is said to have the greatest number of such cases.
“We estimate the prevalence rate in India to be about 72 per 10,000,” shared Dr. Dharmaratnam. “It was the recent surge in leprosy cases that motivated us to conduct this CME.”