A panorama of Hansen's disease: present status and perspectives

Tadiana Alves Moreira

The interviewee speaks about the endemic disease, which at present contaminates 4.4 out of ten thousand inhabitants in Brazil, the country with the second highest number of patients. When Tadiana speaks about the Brazilian participation in the program launched by the World Health Organization, she explains that WHO's objective is to extinguish Hansen's disease on the planet until 2005. However, she says that Brazilian main goal is to reduce the occurrence of the disease to less than one case per ten thousand people. In our country, the structure and the organization of this program, which comprehends the education and specialization of professionals in order to guarantee early diagnoses, as well as patients' follow-up during treatment, is developed by Sistema Único de Saúde (SUS) and has been implemented in all the states of the federation. The chemotherapy treatment lasts about a year, when taken seriously. In many cases, the disease comes back a while later. Tadiana comments on the differences of the disease according to the different regions of the country. It has been extinguished in the South, whereas the rates in the North and Central East regions almost reach endemic peaks. Working close to patients and ex-patients associations, first as a nurse and later in the implementation of policies for Hansen's disease issues, Tadiana Alves Moreira stresses the importance of early diagnoses, which avoid the physical damages and deformities that take place in the advanced stages of the disease, so reducing the stigma over the diseased.

public policies; Hansen's disease in Brazil; WHO and Hansen's disease; stigma; diagnosis; treatment; symptoms

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