World Leprosy Day #United4Dignity

The “United for Dignity” campaign calls for unity in honoring the dignity of people who have experienced leprosy.

The 30 January is a significant day in the world calendar, it is the anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s death and also, since 1954, the day that is recognised internationally to raise awareness of people who have experienced Leprosy. 

Leprosy is also known as Hansen’s disease after the Norwegian scientist Gerhard Henrik Armauer Hansen who discovered the bacterium that causes the disease.  It is a curable infectious bacterial caused by bacillus mycobacterium leprae, which, without treatment, can lead to long-term damage of the nerves, skin, eyes and upper respiratory tract.  

Joy is more infectious than leprosy” – Author Baba Amte

Leprosy, a disease that has been around for thousands of years, often carries a stigma and people frequently experience discrimination.  In 2020 there were 127,558 new leprosy cases diagnosed globally, this includes 8,269 children under the age of 15.

Fortunately, with advances in the medical field leprosy is curable, between 1994 and 2014 16 million people were cured.  Although treatment has changed the management, and recovery, of Leprosy, the stigma still surrounding leprosy still exists.  This often deters people from seeking medical attention and benefiting from early treatment which can have a significant impact on recovery and minimise permanent nerve damage. 

This year there is a call for United Dignity, recognising and honouring the dignity of people with leprosy.  Around the world people who have experienced leprosy face challenges due to stigma, discrimination, and isolation.  This can impact them in many ways and have a negative effect on their mental wellbeing. 

They say knowledge is power so read more about Leprosy and join people all around the world to change attitudes and empower and protect individuals who are often unheard and left without a voice!

In January the Physiopedia volunteer content team were busy reviewing the communicable diseases category to ensure that pages are evidence-based, up to date and relevant. 

One of the great pages created by the team this month was on Leprosy.  As well as rehabilitation advice you can learn more about – the epidemiology, modes of transmission, risk factors, classification and clinical presentation – of this curable disease.  There is a lot to learn, so join the world in raising awareness of Leprosy and stand united for dignity! 

#United4Dignity  #EndStigma  #MentalWellbeing   #BeatLeprosy