World Leprosy Day

09/04/2024 | B MANOGNA REDDY

World Leprosy Day:

Every year, World Leprosy Day is commemorated on the last Sunday of January for the past 69 years. This year, World Leprosy Day 2024 is observed on 28 January, Sunday. In India, it is observed every year on 30th January to commemorate the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Leprosy is a Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD), which still persists in over 120 countries with more than 200 000 new cases documented annually.

World Leprosy Day

The world leprosy day observes aim at awareness against the stigma related to this disease and informing the general public that it is communicable by a bacterium and can be easily healed.

World Leprosy Day 2024: Theme

For the World Leprosy Day 2024, “Beat Leprosy” was chosen as its theme. The theme is meant to achieve two objectives simultaneously. First, it eliminates stigma attached to leprosy while secondly emphasizing pride in persons affected by the malady.

Previous year themes:

  1. 2023: Act Now. End Leprosy
  2. 2022: United for Dignity
  3. 2021: Beat Leprosy, End Stigma and Advocate for Mental Well-Being
  4. 2020: Ending discrimination, stigma and prejudice, is fundamental to ending leprosy
  5. 2019: Ending discrimination, stigma, and prejudice

History:

According to official sources, World Leprosy Day was started in 1954 by French journalist Raoul Follereau. The day was created for purposes of discussing the disease and finding ways of eliminating misinformation and myths associated with it.

This annual event has a different theme. Depending on the theme of this day, every occasion and activity that is planned will have a certain perspective. As such, you should get involved actively in these events and make an effort to educate those who are still ignorant about leprosy.

Leprosy – cause, Signs and symptoms:

Leprosy, commonly known as “Hansen’s disease” is a chronic infectious disorder resulting from Mycobacterium leprae bacterium which usually affects primarily skin, nerves or mucous membranes. Despite its curability with multi-drug therapy (MDT), leprosy remains a subject of public health concern in some areas especially in low-resource settings where access to healthcare services is limited.

Prevention of Leprosy:

These ways will help to prevent Leprosy:

  1. BCG vaccination intake can offer 50% protection against mycobacteria leprae
  2. Early detection and treatment of persons having leprosy.
  3. Maintain a clean sanitary environment
  4. Drinking warm water
  5. Consumption of a nourishing diet with vitamins (A, C, D, E and B12), & minerals like zinc, magnesium and selenium.
    1. Importance of the day:

      The World Leprosy Day is meant to make the public aware of the facts and myths surrounding leprosy, break down misconceptions and ensure that early detection and treatment becomes a routine. Besides, it calls for support towards research on better diagnostic tools, drugs and preventive options. "The main reason why the World Leprosy Day is observed is an attempt to eliminate discrimination attached to this disease by letting people know in general that this disease caused by a kind of bacteria that is easy to cure," according to the official website of the WHO.

      While the World Health Organization (WHO) classified leprosy as a “eliminated” global public health problem in 2005, more than 2 lakh new cases are diagnosed annually worldwide. As per 2021 statistics, there were 1,33,781 cases reported cases of prevalence globally and an incidence (new cases) of 1,40,546 while women made up almost forty percent (55,346) for new cases and grade 2 handicap accounting for 6.04 % (8,490).

      Last modified on 09/04/2024

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