Today, through the efforts of many people, leprosy is an easily curable disease. The drugs are distributed free of charge. Early detection and treatment help prevent disability.
But despite the progress of science and the fact that leprosy can be treated with drugs, just like other diseases, there are still people suffering from the unwarranted discrimination that exists toward leprosy.
Because of leprosy, there are people who have been separated from their families; who have been unable to continue at school; who have lost their jobs; and who have missed out on the chance of marriage. After they have been cured, they are labelled ‘ex-patients’ and continue to face discrimination.
We have not only to fight the disease, but also the prejudice and discrimination that have infected society.
This year, organizations representing persons affected by leprosy, which is also known as Hansen’s disease, are issuing messages on World Leprosy Day. I hope you will listen.
Leprosy is not a disease of the past. It is an ongoing issue