World Leprosy Day, the day chosen to increase public awareness regarding hansen’s disease or Leprosy. Every year it is observed on 30th of January or the last Sunday of January month, the day of commemoration of the death of Mahatma Gandhi. He was the leader who understood the importance of leprosy & its cure.
Leprosy is one of the oldest infectious chronic diseases that attacks nervous system & affects nerves of cooler parts of the body like hands, face or feet. The disease is caused by Bacillus, Mycobacterium leprae. The bacteria multiply slowly on the average of 5 years. In mainly affects the skin, eyes & the upper respiratory tract. The disease is transmitted via nose and mouth, due to close or frequent contact with the untreated cases. It is curable with Multidrug Therapy (MDT).
Since 1995, World Health Organization provided MDT free of cost to all Leprosy patients. The Global Leprosy strategy 2016-2020 is structured i.e. “accelerating towards a leprosy-free world”. The strategy focuses on avoiding disabilities among the people & especially the
children. Some other organizations also contribute to help such kind of patients. Dera Sacha Sauda in Sirsa, Haryana helps such patients by operating a leper’s home where patients are provided with all medical, physical, emotional & mental help along with other required arrangements.The current year theme is “Zero disabilities in girls & boys”. Last year, 18,230 children were diagnosed with leprosy. Individual ILEP member organizations and others within the border community share the centrally produced materials, events & activities to aware people and spread the message. The ultimate motive of this awareness is to uproot this disease from the world.
The day is not an official holiday but different organizations & non governmental organizations hold public outreach events to prevent this disease.
Doctors & medical practitioners provide their services free of cost by organizing camps on this day. Some organizations hold rallies to raise money for research & providing treatment & rehabilitation to patients. On recalling Mahatma Gandhi, Prime Minister, Narendra Modi gave a speech on Anti-leprosy day. He said, “Mahatma Gandhi had an enduring concern for people affected with leprosy. His vision was not only to treat them but also to mainstream the in our society”.
He further said, “The effort to eliminate leprosy from this country under the National Leprosy Eradication program is just a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi’s vision.” Three prompt strategies for early detection of leprosy cases in the community were introduced by PM in 2016 under National Health Mission & it was specially for people living in hard to reach areas”. A leprosy detection campaign was carried out in 2016 & more than 32000 cases were found & those patients were put on treatment. In addition, persons who are in close contact with the patients were also given medicines to reduce the chances of the occurrence of the disease in these people.
We all need to work together & to remain aware of the disease so as to remain healthy & to keep our nation healthy.
Writing Credits: Kajal Munjal