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TARAWA, Kiribati (March 3, 1999 - PACNEWS/Radio Kiribati)---A senior health official in Kiribati says the country is on target to achieve the World Health Organization's goal to eliminate leprosy worldwide.

Leprosy control officer Kiteon Kaburee said Kiribati only has 13 leprosy cases still undergoing treatment, compared to 633 in 1989.

Kaburee attributes the decline in the disease to the World Health Organization's (WHO) multi-drug therapy, introduced regionally as part of its efforts to help Pacific Island countries eliminate leprosy cases to no more than 10 by next year.

Other island countries, including the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, also are using the multi-drug therapy.

Recently, however, WHO warned the Solomons to act quickly to contain a new outbreak of leprosy after what had initially appeared to be positive results.

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