World Leprosy Day was constituted in 1954 by Raoul Follereau who was a French journalist and activist. He founded World Leprosy Day with two aims:
to counsel for the equal treatment of individuals affected by this disease and to reeducate the public about it by correcting historical misconceptions surrounding the disease.
World Leprosy Day or WLD is celebrated on the last Sunday of January every year. In 2023, World Leprosy Day will fall on the 30th of January. This international day is an opportunity to celebrate people who have experienced this disease, call for an end to stigma and discrimination related to this disease, and raise awareness of the disease.
Theme for World Leprosy Day 2023
The theme for WLD 2023 is “Act Now. End Leprosy” . There will be campaigns for togetherness in honoring the pride of people who have experienced leprosy. The campaign honors the live experiences of persons who have experienced leprosy by:
- sharing their inspiring stories and
- Helping in the mental wellbeing and the right to a dignified life,free from disease-related stigma.
World Leprosy Messages 2023
- Together we can up lift the honor and experiences of all the people who have experienced leprosy.
- People who experience this disease face mental well-being challenges due to stigma, discrimination, and isolation.
- Persons who experience Hansen’s disease have the right to a dignified life free from disease-related stigma and discrimination.
Why is World Leprosy Day Celebrated?
We celebrate this Day to raise awareness of the disease that many people think exists no more.
Every year around 200,000 people are diagnosed with leprosy and there are millions who live with the damaging consequences of delayed leprosy diagnosis.
WLD is a chance to celebrate the lives of those affected, raise awareness of the symptoms and signs of the disease, and fight the stigma that too often is associated with leprosy. It is also celebrated to raise wealth so that we can be the generation that ends the transmission of leprosy.
How is World Leprosy Day celebrated?
WLD day is celebrated in both countries with and without the disease. In countries where it is either non-existent or very rare, WLD is marked by churches, NGOs, and leprosy champions who aim to raise awareness of the fact that leprosy is till present and is ruining lives.
In regions where leprosy still exists, communities and people affected by leprosy join to raise awareness and conduct events that are aimed at reducing leprosy stigma and raising awareness of the disease. In many regions there is also good support from the government, who mark the day through ministers and events.
What can you do on this year’s WLD?
If you want to make people aware this WLD or World Leprosy Day, here are some key facts and details that you can share:
- This is a curable disease, which can be cured with a combination of antibiotics known as Multi Drug Therapy (MDT). This treatment is available free all around the globe. If it is not treated on the right time, it can lead to serious complications.
- Being atleast4,000 years old, leprosy is one of the oldest diseases known to the human race. However, we hope to be the generation that finally ends the transmission of this disease –we are aiming at zero transmission by 2035.
- This diseases till exists! Every year on an average 200,000 people are diagnosed with leprosy and many are living with leprosy-related disabilities, especially across Asia, Africa, and South America.
How can we help on WLD 2023 ?
Here are few things you can do to support World Leprosy Day
- Be a voice for justice: raise awareness of WLD and spread messages of hope.
- Donate today: There are NGO’s helping cure Leprosy. Donate to help them in this good cause.
- Have hands of love, not hate: If you live in a community where leprosy is present, where you see persons affected by leprosy, or where you hear people talk about this disease, you can decide to demonstrate love and kindness, rather than the fear and stigma that so often follows persons affected by leprosy.
World Leprosy Day 2023: Quotes
- “Joy is more infectious than leprosy“
– Baba Amte
- “I took up leprosy work not to help anyone, but to overcome that fear in my life. That it worked out good for others was a by-product. But the fact is I did it to overcome fear”.
– Baba Amte
- “When nations are to perish in their sins, ’tis in the Church the leprosy begins.”
– William Cowper
World Leprosy Day 2023: Quiz
c. No other name
c. Treatment for children lasts 6 months and 12 months for adults
c. Intense itching
c. All the above are true.
Answer Keys for the above Quiz