World Leprosy Day
World Leprosy Day is an annual awareness observance celebrated on January 28th of this year. Leprosy is a long-term infectious disease otherwise called as Hansen’s disease (HD). The disease has been in existence for more than thousands of years and is affecting people. Leprosy is the oldest diseases recorded in the world. Many people believe that this infectious disease is an extinct one, but it is still in presence even now. World Leprosy Day is created to raise public awareness of this chronic disease that infects the skin and nerves of a human.
“The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted.” – Mother Teresa
History of World Leprosy Day
The World Leprosy Day has been in celebration globally since the year 1954. Raoul Follereau, a French philanthropist and writer, had established this awareness Day. Since then it is observed internationally on January 30 or the closest Sunday the same date of each year. The date was primarily chosen in commemoration of the death of the Mahatma Gandhi, an Indian leader and the freedom fighter who has understood the importance of leprosy and its treatments. He has worked tirelessly towards the welfare and betterment of people who have afflicted with leprosy. Raoul Follereau has come up with such an awareness day as to make people aware of this disease which is thought to be extinct.
The awareness Day calls attention about this deadly disease to the fact that it is preventable, treatable and curable. Leprosy, unlike other diseases, is one among the oldest diseases recorded in the world. Leprosy targets the nervous system of the body. It is especially the nerves residing in the cooler parts of the human body like the feet, hands and face. Globally, many people are unknown that this chronic disease is still present. There are more than 2,10,000 new leprosy cases are diagnosed every year, and there are millions who are living undiagnosed. The disease spread to the people through a cough or contact with fluid from the infected person’s nose.
Leprosy is also called as the Hansen’s disease, named after Gerhard Henrik Armauer Hansen, who was a Norwegian physician. He has found that leprosy wasn’t a hereditary disease and is a disease caused by bacterial infection. Mycobacterium leprae or lepromatosis is the bacteria responsible for this disease. The awareness Day is started as to draw awareness to those people affected by leprosy and to bring knowledge that is curable with multidrug therapy treatments.
Other Celebrations on January 28
January 28 is also celebrated as
How to Celebrate World Leprosy Day
Celebrating the World Leprosy Day is very simple. Get to know more about leprosy. Get involved yourself with the organizations and non-governmental organizations to educate people about this disease. If you are a professional doctor, then you can talk with people and infected persons to raise awareness about this disease. Conduct rallies, events and donate the money you have received to the welfare of leprosy infected people. Never degrade or make those affected people feel embarrassed with words and acts of yours. Share your awareness and thoughts about this disease on the social media using the hashtag #LeprocyDay.