World Leprosy Day 2022: Every year, the last Sunday in January is celebrated as World Leprosy Day (WLD) to raise awareness about the disease and end stigma and discrimination associated with leprosy. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by a bacillus, Mycobacterium leprae, which multiplies slowly. The incubation period of the disease is on average 5 years and symptoms can appear within a year, but can also last 20 years or even longer.
Every year on Mahatama Gandhi Ji’s Martyrdom Day, i.e. January 30, Anti-leprosy Day is celebrated in India as he is very committed to the cause.
As the fight against leprosy continues, the global health body announced earlier this month that leprosy is likely transmitted by droplets, from the nose and mouth, during close and frequent contact with untreated cases.
It added that the progressive and permanent damage to the skin, nerves, limbs and eyes can be caused if the leprosy is not treated.
According to the WHO, about 1,27,500 new cases of leprosy were registered from 139 countries in 2020, the above data includes about 8,620 children under 15 years of age.
Referring to the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the WHO said: “The COVID 19 pandemic has disrupted program implementation and reduced new case detection by 37% in 2020 compared to 2019.”
The UN health body aims to eradicate leprosy and by that the agency means the interruption of the transmission.
The agency is committed to “zero leprosy: zero infection and disease, zero disability, zero stigma and discrimination” in its long-term vision.
In the official statement, WHO also set global targets for 2030, which include a “70% reduction in the annual number of new cases discovered” along with “120 countries with no new native cases”.
This year, the WHO is organizing the “United for Dignity” campaign to honor the dignity of people who have experienced leprosy.
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