Leprosy Trends in Zambia 1991-2009

Nathan Kapata, Pascalina Chanda-Kapata, Martin Peter Grobusch, Justin O'Grady, Matthew Bates, Peter Mwaba, Alimuddin Zumla

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Objective: To document leprosy trends in Zambia over the past two decades to ascertain the importance of leprosy as a health problem in Zambia.

Methods: Retrospective study covering the period 1991–2009 of routine national leprosy surveillance data, published national programme review reports and desk reviews of in-country TB reports.

Results: Data reports were available for all the years under study apart from years 2001, 2002 and 2006. The Leprosy case notification rates (CNR) declined from 2.73/10 000 population in 1991 to 0.43/10 000 population in 2009. The general leprosy burden showed a downward trend for both adults and children. Leprosy case burden dropped from approximately 18 000 cases in 1980 to only about 1000 cases in 1996, and by the year 2000, the prevalence rates had fallen to 0.67/10 000 population. There were more multibacillary cases of leprosy than pauci-bacillary cases. Several major gaps in data recording, entry and surveillance were identified. Data on disaggregation by gender, HIV status or geographical origin were not available.

Conclusion: Whilst Zambia has achieved WHO targets for leprosy control, leprosy prevalence data from Zambia may not reflect real situation because of poor data recording and surveillance. Greater investment into infrastructure and training are required for more accurate surveillance of leprosy in Zambia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1289-1293
Number of pages5
JournalTropical Medicine & International Health
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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