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WHO Goodwill Ambassador, Yohei Sasakawa said that India must ensure economic security for people with leprosy.
World Leprosy Day is an annual observance day celebrated on the last sunday of January to increase knowledge about it and propagate the need and importance of eradicating the disease. But in India, the day is being observed on January 30th, which is also remembered as the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi,father of nation.
Leprosy has resurfaced in India again with high intensity and now India has the highest number of cases followed by Brazil and Indonesia. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) every year,over 200,000 such cases are detected globally and India accounts for more than half of the burden.
India needs to take special measures to ensure economic security for people suffering with leprosy on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which have shook the excluded community making them rely merely on any aid to survive said the WHO Goodwill Ambassador, Yohei Sasakawa.
Like always, people with leprosy have been ignored during these trying times and not many have come forward to check on their well-being,said Mr. Sasakawa, who was awarded the Gandhi Peace Prize in 2019 for his fight against leprosy, especially in India.
Mr. Sasakawa further told PTI, ” People affected by leprosy in India and many other countries are often economically vulnerable. Many are increasingly in need after having lost their source of income because of lockdowns or restrictions on movement associated with the spread of coronavirus. India needs to take special measures to deal with this.”
India needs to focus more on the eradication of leprosy by initiating more education programmes on leprosy among the people and also with the help of the government programme, National Leprosy Eradication Programme ( NLEP), 1983.
Source- The Hindu
By Swarnali Chakraborty