The rate of new cases with Grade 2 disabilities per 100,000 population was proposed as the new target because it is less influenced by operational factors than other indicators, it focuses attention on impairments that are critical to persons affected by leprosy and it stimulates improvements in case detection.
It is a "robust marker" of the level of occurrence of leprosy in the community and operationally it is easier to recognize compared to the early signs of the disease.
Reported data show a downward trend in new cases with Grade 2 disabilities. A reduction in new cases with Grade 2 disabilities is expected to reflect a reduction in the total number of new cases.
When reviewed together with other indicators, the indicator of new cases detected with Grade 2 disabilities can be used to estimate underdetection; measure the impact on the need for physical and social rehabilitation; advocate the use of prevention of disabilities activities; and promote collaboration with other sectors.
In addition, the use of this indicator will help to put emphasis on the issues that are important to persons affected by leprosy, governments and non-governmental organizations, donors and other partners.
The new target as initially proposed called for reducing the rate of cases with Grade 2 disabilities by 50%, but this was scaled back to 35% based on the response from national program managers at the April meeting.