World Leprosy Day 2022: United for Dignity

World Leprosy Day 2022: United for Dignity

The Theme for the Year 2022 World Leprosy Day (WLD) is “United for Dignity”. The World Leprosy day is celebrated on the last Sunday of January. The 2022 event which is marked on January 30 is a campaign which calls for unity in honouring the dignity of people who have experienced leprosy. On this international event, the Yes, We Are Winning Foundation joins the United Nations to raise awareness of the disease, and call for an end to leprosy-related stigma and discrimination.

What is Leprosy

Leprosy, also called Hansen disease, is a chronic bacterial infection primarily affecting the skin and peripheral nerves usually caused by MYCOBACTERIUM LEPRAE. The form the disease takes depends on the person’s immune response to the infection.

Leprosy has been in existence from the time of old. Many who are infected have lost various part of their body due to this ailment. Some with this disease live in silent because they do not want to be stigmatized. The stigmatization of people living with this disease, leave them with no hope of a better life.

Despite new effective treatment and education efforts, leprosy stigma continues to be problematic in developing countries where the disease is common.

Though we need to be careful when we are around this people there is still a need to make them live happy and well. The theme for this year “United for Dignity” indicates the need to put an end to stigmatization.



Can Leprosy Be Cured?

The spread is thought to occur through a cough or contact with fluid from the nose of a person infected by leprosy. Genetic factors and immune function play a role in how easily a person catches the disease. Leprosy does not spread by casual contact with the infected person, like shaking hands, hugging or sitting next to them. Pregnant mothers with leprosy can’t pass it to their unborn babies. Leprosy can be cured.

In the last 2 decades, 16 million people with leprosy have been cured. The World Health Organization provides free treatment for all the people with leprosy. Treatment depends on the type of leprosy that one has. Leprosy can affect people of all races anywhere in the world. However, it is most common in warm, wet areas of the tropics and subtropics. In 2017, over 200,000 new cases of leprosy were registered world-wide. Worldwide prevalence is reported to be around 5.5 million, with 80% of these cases found in 5 countries: India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Brazil, and Nigeria.

“Don’t Forget Leprosy” Campaign

Yohei Sasakawa, WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy Elimination launched a campaign in August 2021 called “don’t forget leprosy”. Since the coronavirus pandemic, it has been difficult for those livng with this ailment. Lockdown implemented by Governments made it harder for them to access treatment and care living the people with little or no hope to survive.

Data published by WHO in September,2021 for the calendar year 2020 showed a drop in new cases of 37% on the previous year. This evidence that in many countries measures against leprosy, including case detection and treatment have been disrupted by the pandemic. Delays in detecting and treating cases can lead to irreversible physical impairment so it is essential that these services continue. Yohei Sasakawa seeks support of government and health professionals.

#United4Dignity  #EndStigma  #MentalWellbeing   #BeatLeprosy #dontforgetleprosy

Yes, We Are Winning!

Sophie Eke


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