Sixty percent of leprosy patients in the world are in India, said a Japanese philanthropist working to eradicate leprosy in India.
Speaking at an event here on Monday evening, Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of The Nippon Foundation, said that his organisation, Sasakawa India Leprosy Foundation, was working hard to meet the government's target of making India leprosy-free by 2030.
He said that with India observing this year as the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, known for his compassion for leprosy patients, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has managed to secure a large budget for fighting the disease.
Stating that leprosy patients face stigma and discrimination in society, Sasakawa said that figures made available show that there are around 850 colonies of these people in India.
"But a better survey might well take this number up to 1,500." The Japanese also said that, unlike many other countries, government officials in India were responsive and handle leprosy-related matters well. "Other countries cite lack of budget."
Sasakawa is of the view that young patients of leprosy should be provided vocational training so that they can start their own business living independently and said that the Sasakawa India Leprosy Foundation provides for this.
"That way, we can create a more inclusive society," he said.