Anti Leprosy Day 2019
Anti Leprosy Day (Martyrdom Day of Mahatma Gandhi) 2019 was celebrated all over India on Wednesday, 30th of January.
Anti Leprosy Fortnight and Leprosy Seal Campaign was inaugurated by the President of India Sri Ram Nath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Anti Leprosy Day.
In Maharashtra, more than 28 thousand gram panchayats organised a campaign to end the stigma and shame related to leprosy on 26th of January ahead of Anti Leprosy Day. Sparsh’s Leprosy Awareness campaigns were organised in villages and awareness was made regarding the disease which is considered as a shame in various rural areas.
Central Leprosy Division also organised awareness campaign on Anti Leprosy Day. A nationwide message was spread through various electronic and print media. Various gram sabha meetings were organised throughout the country to make people aware about the disease. Leprosy detection campaigns were also organized at various places to detect the disease and provide immediate health care support.
What are Special Activities done on Anti Leprosy Day?
On this occasion, a campaign named as the ‘Sparsh’ Leprosy Awareness Campaign, is organized in all the Gramsabhas throughout the country by Central Leprosy Division, Directorate General of Health Services Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. It is to pay homage to the Bapu by giving place to the leprosy affected people in family and society. This awareness campaign includes the following important information about leprosy to help leprosy affected people:
> Free of cost multi drug therapy is available at all government dispensaries, health centres and hospitals to provide complete treatment to the leprosy affected people.
> This facility is given to all the leprosy affected people because only timely treatment prevents disability (caused by leprosy).
> Some important symptoms of leprosy are like light color patches, redness, swelling and nodule formation over the skin. People, who notice any of the above symptoms, must contact their nearest government dispensaries, health centres and hospitals in order to get early treatment and remain away from disability.
About Anti Leprosy Day (Martyrdom Day of Mahatma Gandhi)
30th January, the Martyrdom Day of the great person Gandhi Ji, is celebrated every year as the Anti Leprosy Day all over the India in order to re-memorize his selfless efforts and care for the people affected by the infectious disease leprosy (also known as the Hansen’s disease).
It is celebrated to understand the real need to fight against the leprosy. Anti-Leprosy Day campaign is celebrated in the schools premises by showing the presentation as well as movie to the students to aware them towards the much infectious disease Leprosy.
Anyone can be affected with this disease, so the day is celebrated to make aware the people about the scientific reasons of leprosy as well as its medical cures. It would be celebrated at the same day at 30th of January in the year 2014 in order focusing on the attention of people and their awareness about this air-borne disease.
The day is also celebrated in the memory of Mahatma Gandhi who had tried very much for the eradication of leprosy. Several programmes are organized at this day all across the India to share the message with people to fight against leprosy and let them know that the disease is completely curable.
According to the report it has been noted that there is a mark reduction in the disease rate as the Government of India has made available the multi-drug Leprosy treatment (NLEP-National Leprosy Eradication Program) free of cost at all government health centers all over the India.
Leprosy is the oldest recorded diseases in the world which is an infectious chronic disease which targets affecting the nervous system (specially the nerves of the hands, feet and face). The diseased patients were nursed by the Mahatma Gandhi Ji at the Sabarmati ashram.
A free check-up camp is organized at the anti leprosy day celebration for the leprosy patients at each health centers which effectively changes the attitudes of people towards the disease. It is a disease caused by the bacteria (Mycobacterium laprae), it is not the hereditary disease, so it is fully curable by the regular and adequate treatment which is very necessary to cure the disease and prevent its disabilities.
The Government of India has made a plan to completely eradicate it from the India by the distant goal named Leprosy Elimination Target. Variety of leprosy control activities has been launched by the World Health Organization for further reducing the disease worldwide.
The celebration of the day targets to aware people about disease myths such as it is not spread by simply touching affected person.
Objectives of Celebrating Anti Leprosy Day
> To raise the leprosy awareness among people.
> To offer help to those affected by disease through regular and free of cost treatment they need.
> To make the patients psychologically strong and help them to cope up with physical impairments of skin sores and nerve damage.
> To ascertain that all affected people are getting the necessary treatment, rehabilitation and care or not.
> To estimate the marked decrease or increase in the rate of spreading disease.
> The day also fights the age old superstitions related to the disease and makes people aware that leprosy is also just a disease.
> It also helps to reduce the fear and stigma among people related to the disease.
> The day also reminds the great works of Mahatma Gandhi who selflessly took care of the patients suffering with leprosy.
World Leprosy Day
The World Leprosy Day coincides with Anti Leprosy Day and is celebrated on the last Sunday of January every year across the world. The aim and objective of the World Leprosy Day is also same as India’s Anti Leprosy Day. This day also commemorates the great works of Mahatma Gandhi who was pioneer in understanding the stigma related to the disease and showcased the importance of leprosy to the world and tried to end the psychological pressure and discrimination leprosy patients’ face from the society.
Dedicating a day for leprosy patients was suggested by Raoul Follereau who was a French activist who fought against the stigma and discrimination related to leprosy. He celebrated the first world leprosy day on the last Sunday of January in the year 1954. This day was celebrated with objective of treating leprosy patients just like other patients and helping them to live a life with dignity and freedom.
Various awareness camps and campaigns are organized across the world to raise awareness on leprosy and how early detection can help to completely cure the disease. It also aims to end the stigma related to the disease and the discrimination the patients face from the society and family. The day also focuses on inviting doctors and healthcare specialists around the world to dedicate more resources on leprosy research works and raise fund so that the disease could be completely eradicated from the world.
How Leprosy can be treated
Leprosy is an infectious disease which is caused by a long term infection from bacteria named Mycobacterium Leprae. The disease can be easily treated by multidrug therapy (MDT) once it is early diagnosed. The medicines are readily available at the government hospital free of cost. The composition of the MDT comprises of medicines like Dapsone, Rifampicin and Clofazimine etc which are highly effective against leprosy. The treatment of leprosy may range from six months to 1 year depending on the type and stage of the disease.