World Leprosy day

Tags: Important Days

World Leprosy Day is observed on the last Sunday of January. In 2023, World Leprosy Day was observed on 29 January. 

An overview of the news

  • The date was chosen as a tribute to the life of Mahatma Gandhi by French humanitarian, Raoul Folreau, who did a lot of work with persons affected by leprosy.

  • In India, it is celebrated every year on 30 January to mark the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

  • It is organised by leprosy and leprosy-focused NGOs including the Leprosy Mission.

  • The theme for World Leprosy Day 2023 is ‘Act Now: End Leprosy’.

  • The aim of the day is to raise awareness about leprosy.

What is Leprosy?

  • Leprosy is a neglected tropical disease (NTD) that still occurs in more than 120 countries with more than 200000 new cases reported every year.

  • It is an infectious disease caused by the Mycobacterium leprae.

  • It mainly affects the skin, nerves, mucosa of the upper respiratory tract and eyes.

  • Its infection occurs due to close and frequent contact with the patient.

  • Leprosy is curable with multi drug therapy (MDT). If left untreated, it can cause permanent damage to the skin, nerves, organs and eyes.

Status of  Leprosy in India

  • According to the recent statement by the Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Bharti Praveen Pawar, it is a matter of great concern that India accounts for about 52 percent of the total leprosy cases worldwide.

  • The prevalence rate of leprosy cases in India has decreased from 0.69 per ten thousand population in 2014-15 to 0.45 in 2021-22.

  • Dr Bharti also launched the National Strategic Plan and Roadmap for Leprosy 2023-2027.

  • The aim of the plan is to eradicate leprosy in the country by 2027. The minister also launched the National Guidelines for Surveillance for Antimicrobial Resistance in Leprosy.

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