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Nepal Welcomed Almost 1Mn Tourists in 2018

Tourism contributed 7.8 percent to Nepal's GDP in 2017, creating over a million jobs, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.

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Nepal
This photograph taken from a helicopter shows an aerial view of Mount Everest in Nepal's Solukhumbu district, some 140 kilometers (87 miles) northeast of Kathmandu, on Nov. 22, 2018. VOA

Tourist arrivals in Nepal topped one million for the first time in 2018 — boosted by increased visitors from India, China, the U.S., Sri Lanka and the U.K.

The Himalayan nation saw the number of tourists jump nearly 25 percent as it welcomed a record high of 1,173,072 visitors in 2018, the country’s tourism authorities said Tuesday.

Rabindra Adhikari, Nepal’s tourism minister, called the new total “remarkable.”

Last year also saw a record 807 climbers reach the summit of Mount Everest, including 563 summits from Nepal.

Nepal
This photograph taken from a helicopter shows an aerial view of Namche Bazar in Nepal’s Solukhumbu district on Nov. 22, 2018. VOA

Tourism is a major revenue earner for impoverished Nepal, home to eight of the world’s 14 peaks over 8,000 meters (26,000 feet).

Fears for the industry rose after a devastating earthquake in 2015 that killed nearly 9,000 people and destroyed many of the country’s heritage sites.

Also Read: Northern Kerala to Soon Emerge as Major Tourist Attraction

The industry’s annual revenues fell by almost a third that year, dealing a devastating blow to the economy, but the sector has since gradually recovered.

Tourism contributed 7.8 percent to Nepal’s GDP in 2017, creating over a million jobs, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. (VOA)

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Fear of Leprosy Resurgence in Nepal

There are only three staff working in the leprosy section and the same team looks after the disability programme, as well, he told the newspaper

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Leprosy, Wikimedia

Health officials in Nepal fear leprosy resurgence in the country with prevalence rate reaching 0.94 per cent in 2018.

Leprosy-free status was given to the Himalayan nation after it declared elimination of the disease in 2009. However, that status could be lost if prevalence rate reaches one per cent of total population, Kathmandu Post reported on Thursday.

Experts already fear that this marks the resurgence of the disease in Nepal. The percentage could be more, an official said, as the current given figures have been derived just from preliminary data.

The Leprosy Control and Disability (LCD) section of Epidemiology and Disease Control Division (EDCD) of Department of Health Services said that the prevalence rate was 0.92 and 0.89 in 2017 and 2016, respectively, the news report said.

“It will be a great setback for the country if it loses the status,” said Rabindra Baskota, a doctor and chief of the LCD section.

Incubation period of leprosy varies from one to 20 years and diagnosis of more patients could help stop the further spread of the disease, according to him.

An amputated leg, claw toes and claw hands of leprosy patient Gopal Bag are seen at the Leprosy Mission Trust India hospital. Kolkata. VOA

“It will take only a couple of years to reach one percent if this upward trend continues,” he added.

The prevalence rate is over one per cent in various districts of the Tarai region, Baskota said, adding that the country had received the leprosy eliminated status, after reducing its prevalence rate by 0.77 per cent, in 2009.

Sishir Silwal, a focal person for the leprosy control programme in Gulmi district, said regular review meetings for leprosy, which should be held every four months, has not been held for the last eight months.

Also Read- Poor Cognitive Function Raises Bad Oral Health in Elderly

Kathmandu Post quoted Bibek Kumar Lal, Director at EDCD, as saying that there is a severe crunch in manpower that hinders proper functioning.

There are only three staff working in the leprosy section and the same team looks after the disability programme, as well, he told the newspaper.

Leprosy, a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae, is transmitted through nasal secretion or from droplets from the mouth. It affects the skin, peripheral nerves and eyes, leading to disfigurement and nerve damage. The disease is curable with a multi-drug therapy. (IANS)