Friday, January 30, 2015

World Anti-Leprosy Day 2015

The martyrdom day of Mahatma Gandhi (30th January) is observed as Anti-leprosy day throughout the world. It is also called "International Anti-leprosy day". NGOs, international voluntary agencies and government machineries observe a week-long programme starting from 30th Jan. to 5th Feb. giving scientific information on leprosy to the masses and sensitising the public on the disease. Various activities in public places are organised for disseminating message on leprosy.

SOMETIME IN 1945, Prof. T. N. Jagadisan invited Mahatma Gandhi to inaugurate the Kasturba Kushta Nivaran Nilayam building in Tamil Nadu. Gandhiji wrote back, "Get someone to open it; opening a hospital is not a big matter, but I shall come to close it.'' By this Gandhiji meant that leprosy should be soon eliminated so that there won't be any need for leprosy hospitals.

Mahatma Gandhi's cherished dream of a leprosy-eliminated India has come true. Thanks to the support of the various NGOs, national and international bodies along with the Government machinery, the number of leprosy cases has come down from 40 lakhs in 1982 to 1.27 lakh today. Since the prevalance rate of leprosy has come down to less than 1 per 10,000 population in India, the govt. has declared that leprosy has been eliminated.

Leprosy is completely curable today. An air-borne disease caused by mycobacterium leprae, leprosy was a scourge of humanity and it carried a lot of misconceptions. Leprosy is a socio-medical problem. Though the number of leprosy cases has come down, the stigma still prevails. A lot need to be done with regard to rehabilitation of persons affected with leprosy (PALs).

Social stigma continues to haunts the patients though a lot of awareness campaigns  had been conducted. We could find new cases being detected in some regions.  Medical team and social workers are on the move to reach-out to the needy people.

Indian Development Foundation (formerly Indian Leprosy Foundation) team will be covering up government schools and other educational institutions during the week disseminating scientific information on leprosy during the week.  Also distribution of blankets and MCR chappels to the needy patients will be distributed by IDF Team.  Students' participation in leprosy elimination programmes needs to be written in the letters of gold. IDF is committed to leprosy elimination work. 

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