Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for a collective effort for complete elimination of leprosy and attributed the mission to the vision of Mahatma Gandhi who, he said, had an enduring concern for people afflicted with the disfiguring disease.
"We have to work together for socio-economic uplift of the cured persons and for their contribution in nation building, and to to strive hard to ensure that these citizens of our country lead a life with dignity that Mahatma Gandhi dreamt of," Modi said in his message, a day before the 69th death anniversary of the Father of the Nation.
"His vision was not just to treat them, but also to bring them to the mainstream of our society," Modi said. The Prime Minister said that the National Leprosy Eradication Programme, launched in 1955, is a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi's vision.
"We have to leave no stone unturned to not just reach the last mile but also to work together to eliminate the social stigma attached with this disease," Modi added.
Listing out the measures to counter the disease, he cited the National Health Mission and a special "Leprosy Case Detection Campaign", launched in 2016, which aimed at reaching the afflicted in hard to reach areas.
As a result of these programmes, more than 32,000 cases were confirmed and put under treatment. In addition, persons who are in close contact with the patients were also given medicine to reduce the chances of occurrence of the disease in them, according to a statement from the Prime Minister's Office.