World Leprosy Day 2023
World Leprosy Day is on Sunday, January 29, 2023. The day coincides with Mahatma Gandhi’s death anniversary, who served leprosy patients tirelessly. We celebrate the day annually to increase public awareness and draw their attention toward infected persons.
What is leprosy?
Leprosy is caused by slow-growing bacteria known as Mycobacterium leprae. This infectious disease affects the skin, nerves, eyes, and nasal cavity. Leprosy is a rare disease but not extinct.
2023 Theme of the Day
“Beat leprosy, end stigma, and advocate for mental well-being” is this year’s theme. The theme aims to eliminate infection, eradicate discrimination and stigma, and support mental health.
Dates for World Leprosy Day
|2023 Sunday, January 29|
|2024 Sunday, January 28|
|2025 Sunday, January 26|
|2026 Sunday, January 25|
|2027 Sunday, January 31|
History of the Day
In 1953 Raoul Follereau established the day in accordance with Mahatma Gandhi’s death anniversary. He did much for persons infected by leprosy and died in the last week of January (January 30) in 1948. Therefore, we celebrate the day on January’s last Sunday every year.
Purpose of the Day/ Why do people celebrate the day?
(WLD) is an opportunity to generate awareness about the infection, celebrate afflicted people, and call action to end leprosy and its related stigma.
Activities of the World Leprosy Day
Spend the day with leprosy patients
You can visit Leprosy care hospital and spend the day with people afflicted by leprosy. Appreciate them for their fight against the disease and encourage them to win over it bravely.
Don’t make them feel untouchable.
- Many people think that Leprosy is much contagious. Even it’s wrong! Prevention is good, but it does not make them feel they are untouchable, as casual contact with Leprosy patients may not be harmful and spread Leprosy.
Host/Attend a seminar.
Attend seminars nearby you or the host to spread awareness about the disease and to take steps for its eradication. Seminars can be hosted to end discrimination against patients.
Understand the theme of the year and deliver it to others
It is good to be aware before making others. So, try to fully understand the theme and its aim. Have some reading and collect information about the disease to be able to tell others about it.
Donate to charity
Donation is another option to observe the day. A small donation can save a life and help people who cannot afford the treatment.
Invite an N.G.O
Inviting an N.G.O. to your community can be an excellent idea to observe the day. It will be the source to educate many on the issue and can be the collective step to take for Leprosy patients.
Spread awareness through social media
Share posts and information about Hansen’s disease on social media. To provide further information, you can tag your posts with articles and stories about the disease.
Some significant facts about Leprosy
- Leprosy is included in one of the ancient diseases.
- Worldwide about 2 to 3 million persons are living with disabilities caused by Hansen’s disease.
- Leprosy was diagnosed in approximately 15,000 children in 2019.
- The U.S. sees nearly 150 to 200 disease cases per year.
- The disease’s symptoms appear slowly after 5 to 7 years of the infection.
- Leprosy is treatable with antibiotics.
- If the disease is not treated on time, it can cause permanent skin damage.
- Hansen’s disease is not spread by casual contact with the patient.
- In 2020, about 51% of disease’s new cases appeared in India.
- Leprosy can severely damage the skin and nerve damage if remain untreated.
- According to experts, 95% of persons have immunity against the disease.
- Since 1981 Leprosy has become treatable.
- Leprosy can cause less damage if affected people find suitable treatment on time.
- According to World Health Organization (WHO) Leprosy is treatable through multi-drug therapy.
- World Health Organization has a global target of reducing 90% of the new child cases with Hansen’s disease in 2030.
Why (WLD) is important?
This day is essential to eradicate societal discrimination and allow the affected people to live with dignity. In addition, this day spreads awareness among people about the disease, the nature of the disease, and its treatment. WLD provides a platform for creating an inclusive association that treats the affected patients respectfully. The day has a very significant role, no doubt! Because it is also a great source of breaking the stereotypes, misconceptions, and myths about the disease and providing them an equal chance to shine in society.
Quotes of the (WLD)
- Baba Amte said, “I took up leprosy work not to help anyone, but to overcome that fear in my life. That it worked out well for others was a by-product. But the fact is I did it to overcome fear.”
- Mother Teresa said, “I see Jesus in every human being. I say to myself, this is hungry Jesus, I must feed him. This is sick, Jesus. This one has leprosy or gangrene; I must wash him and tend to him. I serve because I love Jesus.”
- Ron Hubbard stated, “Once a dictator of Venezuela decided to stopover the leprosy. Dictator noticed that mostly lepers were beggars by their profession in Venezuela. Instead of simply collecting and destroying all beggars in his country, he put an end to Hansen’s disease in that country.”
Slogans of the Day
- “Don’t let the leprosy to win the war because we have to conquer it at any price.”
- “Hansen’s disease has taken many lives however we can’t allow it to take more.”
- “Never hate the patients but hate the disease.”
- “Leprosy is a war that we all have to fight to win a healthier world for all of us.”
What are the symptoms of Leprosy?
Unevenness and dryness of skin with red patches, rashes, painless swelling on fingers of hands and toes, loss of eyelashes and eyebrows, pins and needles, vision problems, and loss of touch sensation are the main symbols of Leprosy.
What are the causes of Leprosy?
The leading cause of Leprosy is Mycobacterium leprae.
What are the types of Leprosy?
The main types of leprosy are as follows:
When is Leprosy day observed worldwide?
WLD takes place on the last Sunday of every January.
Can Leprosy spread from person to person?
Leprosy is not a highly contagious disease, as casual contact with leprosy patients can not cause the spread of leprosy. However, a prolonged period with the infectious person can catch the disease.
How can you prevent leprosy?
You can have lower chances of getting the disease when you don’t touch the rash on the infected person’s body and avoid touching armadillos.
How is leprosy diagnosed?
Hansen’s disease is diagnosed by biopsy (taking a test of skin samples).