WHO expert committee on leprosy: eighth report.
Since the introduction of multidrug therapy for leprosy in 1981, an estimated 15 million patients have been cured of the disease and disabilities have been prevented in some 2-3 million individuals. These remarkable results have been brought about by the synergistic efforts of WHO, governmental and nongovernmental bodies, academia, industry and affected communities throughout the world. Nevertheless, much remains to be done - both to sustain this progress and to effect a further reduction in the impact of leprosy on patients and their families. This report presents the conclusions and recommendations of the WHO Expert Committee on Leprosy, whose eighth meeting reflected the recent shift in emphasis of leprosy elimination to reducing of the impairments and disabilities caused by the disease and ensuring the quality and sustainability of leprosy services. The Committee analysed the global leprosy situation, discussed elements of epidemiology, and reviewed developments in treatment of the disease and management of complications. Sociocultural issues were addressed, as was the need for community care, accessibility of health services, and effective referral systems. Indicators for monitoring and evaluation were outlined and research priorities were set out.