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World Leprosy Day 2021

by Michael Ford last modified 22 Jan, 2021 09:25 PM

World Leprosy Day is taking place on Sunday 31st January 2021. It’s an important day, an opportunity to use the voices of 1000s of people worldwide to raise awareness of leprosy. So what will this achieve?

The Leprosy Mission has 4 key aims this year, as below.

Ensuring people are aware of the signs, symptoms and cure
Our number one goal this World Leprosy Day is ensuring that all people in leprosy-affected countries are aware of the signs and symptoms of leprosy and that the leprosy is curable.

The first signs of leprosy are unusually coloured patches of skin that you can’t feel. You can test the feeling of these patches of skin by closing your eyes and asking someone to touch the patch with a pencil or a small, clean stick. If you cannot feel the touch, it could be leprosy and you should talk to a doctor. The good news is that you can ask your health worker for Multi-Drug Therapy (MDT) treatment, which is completely free and will cure you of leprosy.

If you’d like to help with these efforts around World Leprosy Day, you can share our awareness messages on your social media platforms and ensure that everyone in affected countries is aware of these facts. Take a look at our Facebook and Twitter for more.

Ending the stigma surrounding the disease

Leprosy is a disease that carries a lot of stigma. People believe that it is a curse or something evil. It is not. It is only a mildly infectious disease. With the right treatment, it can be cured. There is no reason to treat anyone differently because of a leprosy diagnosis; that would be like treating them differently because they have caught a cold.

Please help us to share that message, so that no one who has experienced leprosy will face the stigma that so often comes with the disease. Help us to show love, instead.

Ensuring people are aware of mental health

We are growing increasingly aware that leprosy is a disease that can have a negative impact on mental health. This is because of the stigma and isolation that so often comes with the disease.

If leprosy isn’t treated properly with MDT, it can also lead to some long term medical consequences, which can make it hard for a person to work and sometimes can lead to extended periods in hospital, which further separates people from their families.

On World Leprosy Day 2021, we want to raise awareness of the fact that mental health problems are common amongst persons affected by leprosy and the best way to face this is to seek help and talk to those around you.

Ensuring everyone knows how they can make a difference

Leprosy is not present in every country and only five percent of the world population is at risk from the disease. But we can all play our part in helping to eradicate this disease.

This World Leprosy Day, we want you to know that you can contribute to the fight to defeat leprosy by donating to The Leprosy Mission so that we have the resources we need to beat leprosy. You can also look at The Leprosy Mission in your country to see if there are opportunities to volunteer.

You can also play your part by lifting your voice up on social media, so that it is heard by people and policymakers across the world! Follow along using #WorldLeprosyDay and #BeatLeprosy.

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