World Leprosy Day (29 January 2023): Act Now. End Leprosy.

World Leprosy Day is celebrated on the last Sunday of January the world over. In India, it is celebrated on 30 January to coincide with the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

Background Information:

Leprosy is at least 4,000 years old, making it one of the oldest diseases known to humanity. However, we can be the generation that finally ends the transmission of leprosy – the target is to achieve 120 countries with zero new autochthonous leprosy cases by 2030.

In 2023, World Leprosy Day is Sunday 29 January. It is an opportunity to celebrate people who have experienced leprosy, raise awareness of the disease, and call for an end to leprosy-related stigma and discrimination.

Key Messages:

Leprosy is a neglected tropical disease (NTD) which still occurs in more than 120 countries, with more than 200 000 new cases reported every year.

45 countries have reported 0 new leprosy cases since 2012. When we invest in leprosy work, together we can stop transmission and #EndLeprosy. #WorldLeprosyDay #ActNow

> 24 countries have implemented SDR-PEP, an antibiotic that stops leprosy from developing. SDR-PEP can reduce the risk of leprosy, and 99% of close contacts of leprosy patients accept SDR-PEP as a way to stop transmission.

14 countries are currently on the path to interruption of transmission, with 0 new child cases in the past 5 years. We have the tools to stop transmission, but we need political commitment to do so.

Suffering from leprosy is needless. It disproportionately affects marginalized populations, especially those experiencing poverty. Together, we can end the suffering caused by leprosy and the stigma that surrounds it.

The theme of World Leprosy Day 2023 is “Act Now. End Leprosy.” This year’s theme calls attention to three key messages:

  1. Elimination is possible: We have the power and tools to stop transmission and defeat this disease.
  2. Act now: We need the resources and commitment to end leprosy. Prioritize leprosy elimination.
  3. Reach the unreached: Leprosy is preventable and treatable. Suffering from leprosy is needless.

Leprosy is curable with a combination of antibiotics known as Multi Drug Therapy (MDT). This treatment is available for free across the world. If leprosy is not treated, it can lead to serious complications.

The COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted leprosy programming. As a result, fewer people received timely diagnosis, and more people developed leprosy-related disabilities.

Useful Links:

Link to the related WHO page:

Link to a related video:

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