World Leprosy Day is an annual awareness observance celebrated on January 30th of this year. Leprosy is a long-term infectious disease, otherwise called Hansen’s disease (HD). The disease has been in existence for more than thousands of years and is affecting people. Leprosy is the oldest disease recorded in the world. Many people believe that this infectious disease is an extinct one, but it is still present 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
World Leprosy Day has been celebrated globally since the year 1954. Raoul Follereau, a French philanthropist and writer, had established this awareness Day. Since then, it has been 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 Mahatma Gandhi, an Indian leader and freedom fighter who understood the importance of leprosy and its treatments. He has worked tirelessly toward the welfare and betterment of people who have been afflicted with leprosy. Raoul Follereau has come up with such an awareness day to make people aware of this disease which is thought to be extinct.
Awareness Day calls attention to this deadly disease to the fact that it is preventable, treatable, and curable. Leprosy, unlike other diseases, is one of 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 spreads to people through a cough or contact with fluid from the infected person’s nose.
Leprosy is also called Hansen’s disease, named after Gerhard Henrik Armauer Hansen, who was a Norwegian physician. He has found that leprosy isn’t a hereditary disease but a disease caused by bacterial infection. Mycobacterium leprae, or lepromatosis, is the bacteria responsible for this disease. The awareness Day is started to draw awareness to those people affected by leprosy and to bring knowledge that it is curable with multidrug therapy treatments.
Other Celebrations on January 30
January 30 is also celebrated as
How to Celebrate World Leprosy Day
Get to know more about leprosy. Get involved with organizations and non-governmental organizations to educate people about this disease. If you are a professional doctor, you can talk with people and infected persons to raise awareness about this disease. Conduct rallies and 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 your words and acts of yours. Share your awareness and thoughts about this disease on social media using the hashtag #LeprocyDay.
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