Day (WLD) is observed on the last Sunday of January each year. This year it is
Sunday 25 January. The idea of WLD was conceived by the French Humanitarian,
Raoul Follereau who played a major role in helping, supporting and fundraising
for people affected with leprosy
. Follereau believed that people affected
with leprosy should not be treated as sub-human and should receive the same
care, dignity and quality treatment as any other disease. He also believed that
raising awareness about the facts of leprosy was necessary to create awareness
and reduce the stigma associated with the disease.
This day was
chosen to mark the anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi's assassination on 30 January
1948. In his lifetime, Gandhi had worked extensively caring for and supporting
people with leprosy. Gandhi nursed several affected people at the Sabarmati
ashram. He was one of the first leaders to work for leprosy-affected people. To
quote Gandhi, "leprosy work is not merely medical relief, it is transforming
frustration of life into joy of dedication, personal ambition into selfless
This day is being observed from the past
60 years in order to create and spread awareness of leprosy keeping with the
objectives conceived by Raoul Follereau. The idea of a special day to mark
leprosy is to make people aware of a disease that is thought to be extinct.
Objectives of World Leprosy Day
In 2013, 215,656
people were diagnosed with leprosy. There are millions who also go undiagnosed.
According to the WHO statistics, there are 3 million people worldwide who are
disabled as a result of late diagnosis and treatment. According to the Leprosy
Mission Trust India (http://www.tlmindia.org/), 55% of leprosy cases are in
India and there were 127, 000 new cases reported between 2010-11. Leprosy
affects the poor and marginalized communities who lack access to adequate
sanitation, healthcare and clean living spaces.
statistics of leprosy, it is necessary to disseminate the right information
about the disease and treatment available for a cure.
1. WLD's mission is
to inform and educate the public and affected people on the facts of leprosy to
reduce the stigma and facilitate inclusion of affected people in society.
2. The idea of WLD
is also to enable the voices of a forgotten group of people.
3. WLD also involves
government programmes across health centers to facilitate free check-ups and
provide regular and free treatment to affected people.
The World Health Organization (WHO) partners
with governments across the world for a range of leprosy eradication
programmes. The National Leprosy Eradication Programme (NLEP) is supported by
the WHO in its various programmes to create awareness, provide treatment and
rehabilitation and address issues of social and economic stigma.