On the final Sunday in January each year, World Leprosy Day is observed. It is marked in India on January 30 to coincide with Mahatma Gandhi's death anniversary due to his compassion for the people afflicted with the disease. More than 120 nations still experience leprosy, a neglected tropical disease (NTD), and more than 2,00,000 new cases are recorded each year. By educating the public that leprosy is a disease spread by a particular type of bacteria and that it is easily curable, World Leprosy Day hopes to reduce the stigma associated with the illness. Here's everything you need to know about the date, history, significance and objective of observing this day.

World Leprosy Day 2023 Theme

This international day offers the chance to honour those who have battled leprosy, increase public understanding of the condition, and demand an end to prejudice and discrimination based on leprosy. “Act Now. End Leprosy.” is the theme of World Leprosy Day in 2023. World Leprosy Day: Mahatma Gandhi Worked All His Life to Eradicate the Stigma Attached to Leprosy.

According to the UN, three important messages are highlighted by this year's theme. Elimination is feasible because we have the capability and resources to halt the spread of the illness and eradicate it. Take immediate action: To eradicate leprosy, we must have the means and the will. Eliminate leprosy as a top priority. Conquer the unreached: Leprosy can be avoided and treated. Leprosy-related suffering is unnecessary.

World Leprosy Day History Significance

Raoul Follereau, a French philanthropist who made people aware of this chronic illness, founded the day in 1954. Many individuals still don't know about the illness, they don't receive adequate medical care, and the stigma around the illness persists.

World Leprosy Day Significance

The two major goals of this day are to treat leprosy patients fairly and to dispel myths about the illness by educating the public. The purpose of this day is to encourage people to treat leprosy patients with respect. This will assist them in overcoming the psychological trauma they have experienced due to the attitudes of those around them.

A combination of antibiotics called Multi Drug Therapy can cure leprosy (MDT). Throughout the world, this treatment is free. Leprosy can have major consequences if it is not treated. One of humanity's oldest diseases is leprosy, which dates back at least 4,000 years. Unfortunately,  leprosy still exists. Before COVID-19, approximately 2,00,000 persons per year were diagnosed with leprosy, but due to delays brought on by the pandemic to leprosy programmes, this number has decreased by 30%. Leprosy-related disabilities affect many millions of people, primarily in Asia, Africa, and South America.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jan 28, 2023 06:00 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).