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Leprosy-Control Methods

Joseph Westermeyer, MD
JAMA. 1966;197(3):225. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110030119049.
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To the Editor:—  Dr. Arnold is too harsh in pronouncing the village-center treatment of leprosy anachronistic (195:595, 1966). In the northern hill country of Thailand where Dr. Buker has worked and in Laos, circumstances make this the only feasible method at present.There are virtually no roads. As a result, the medicine and personnel must be transported by STOL (slow-take-off-and-land) aircraft, by helicopter, or by foot and pack over mountains.The country is mountainous, the population exceedingly sparse, and the weather inclement for much of the year. Thus, the logistics problem in supplying medical commodity to even a few dozen leprosy villages is herculean.Due to the shifting "slash and burn" agriculture practiced by the hill tribes people and the refugee movements brought on by foreign military incursions into the area, it is necessary to group patients merely to keep track of them.Professional medical care is stretched extremely


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