Restoring Dignity – End Stigma and Discrimination against Leprosy #YouAreNotAlone #LeprosyFreeMinds

Though easily treatable at all the stages, Leprosy affected still faces discrimination. It was one of the most feared and misunderstood disease in India. Prevailing myths and lack of knowledge about the disease is the root cause for social stigma attached to it. The Lepers Act Leprosy affected persons and their families, they are often denied their fundamental human rights. Today, we have the best medical facilities to cure and eradicate the disease, but the stigma prevailing is the biggest obstacles in our efforts to end Stigma and Discrimination against Leprosy.

What should you know about Leprosy?

Restoring Dignity - End Stigma and Discrimination against Leprosy

Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease that mainly affects the skin, the peripheral nerves, respiratory tract, and the eyes. It’s asymptomatic for 5 to 20 years. It’s a non-contagious, non-hereditary and entirely curable disease. Leprosy affected doesn’t feel pain, sensation. Further loss of parts of extremities which leads to disabling injuries. Though early detection, treatment on time help them to live independently. It’s easily treatable at all the stages.

Facts about Leprosy:

  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), It’s the World’s oldest diseases, and India accounts for 60% of the annual new cases.
  • In 2005, India announced the elimination of leprosy as a public health concern via the National Leprosy Eradication Programme. However, new cases (126164) detected during 2017-18.
  • Chhattisgarh and Dadra & Nagar Haveli never attain the status of elimination.
  • During 2017-18,  32,714 cases detected in leprosy Case Detection Campaign.

The Stigma and Misconceptions that led to Discrimination.

Leprosy is considered as an incurable, highly deforming disease. This myth leads to destitution and eventually to death because leprosy patient gets neglected and undergo starvation. The stigma and misconceptions associated with this disease delay the diagnosis and treatment. The Key challenges are:

  • Problems like social stigma, lack of awareness, misconceptions are hurdles in eradicating the disease.
  • The common misconception in leprosy is It’s a contagious, hereditary and non-curable disease.
  • The Lepers Act of 1898 repealed two years ago.
  • The patient is examined in poor light, hence the disease is not easily detected.
  • Increased resource towards leprosy control is essential.

What actions have taken so far?

  • The parliament passed an amendment in various laws to remove discrimination against leprosy patients,
  • The Govt is planning to pass Bill to eliminate discrimination against persons affected by leprosy.
  • The government treats leprosy patients for free.

Sasakawa-India Leprosy Foundation

Restoring Dignity - End Stigma and Discrimination against Leprosy

Cases like Shankari who was diagnosed with leprosy when she was studying at school, but early diagnosis followed by timely treatment and living a healthy life. And NGOlike Sasakawa-India Leprosy Foundation provides a nursing scholarship to her girl child.

Sasakawa-India Leprosy Foundation fights stigma and provides a dignified life to leprosy patients and their families. They are running programmes like Livelihood, Education, Advocacy & Awareness to mainstreams leprosy patients and their families.

They are Providing vocational training and higher education to help them self employed. Help leprosy patients to access government welfare schemes. Their motto is to raise awareness about leprosy among all sections of society to fight the stigma. They have supported the Livelihood of more than 2200 leprosy-affected people and trained more than 585 youth in entry-level employable skills. They Indirectly helped more than 27,400 leprosy affected family members.

There is a need to restore dignity and End Stigma and Discrimination against Leprosy. NGO like SILF is doing inspiring work to root out this stigma from our society. While the government is securing its fundamental rights, society has an even more significant role to play. Discrimination can end by law, but stigma requires more efforts to eliminate. And only awareness and education regarding this disease among youth can help.

The Global Appeal 

The Global Appeal is an essential initiative to End Discrimination against Leprosy at the global level. It aimed at spreading awareness in society and provide the right knowledge about leprosy. Their campaign includes – Leprosy is a curable disease, free treatment available and that discrimination is unjustifiable.

Restoring Dignity - End Stigma and Discrimination against Leprosy

The global fight against leprosy is initiated by Mr. Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of the Nippon Foundation and WHO Goodwill Ambassador for leprosy, Japan’s Ambassador for the Human Rights of People Affected by leprosy. He is also patron S-ILF.  For, Mr. Sasakawa leprosy is his mission, and he works to bridge the gap between people affected by Leprosy and system. His particular focus is on places where the disease is endemic.

Reference:

  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4405922/
  • https://www.dovepress.com/perspectives-on-the-impact-of-stigma-in-leprosy-strategies-to-improve–peer-reviewed-fulltext-article-RRTM
  • https://www.iasabhiyan.com/restoring-dignity-on-stigma-attached-to-leprosy/
  • https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/restoring-dignity/article24794954.ece

Disclosure: The views shared are solely Author only.

DISCLAIMER:  The views expressed in the blog content are independent and unbiased views of solely the blogger. The content is meant for educational purpose only. One should consult the expert for any related information.


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Dr Bushra

Gynaecologist by profession~~Food ,Health,lifestyle,Freelance Blogger~~social media influencer~~writer at heart~~Email for collaboration

45 thoughts on “Restoring Dignity – End Stigma and Discrimination against Leprosy #YouAreNotAlone #LeprosyFreeMinds

  • January 29, 2019 at 11:31 am
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    This is a much needed initiative to fight against discrimination. Leprosy does have a lot of myths. Glad to find you lending your voice.

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  • January 29, 2019 at 12:23 pm
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    Thank u so much for giving insights on leprosy.. .there are many myths around it ..its important to spread awareness so that more people can be treated on timely basis

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  • January 29, 2019 at 2:08 pm
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    Agree with you though it’s fully curable disease still the stigma and discrimination attached with this disease still prevails. That’s great initiative by Silf Foundation to give platform to leprosy affected Patients and strength their skills.

    Reply
  • January 29, 2019 at 5:45 pm
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    it’s a great initiative by Sasakarwa to spread awareness and help the patients make a living. The myths and stigma surrounding the disease has been going on since ages it’s the right time to break out of it and fight Leprosy to it’s core.

    Reply
  • January 29, 2019 at 6:20 pm
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    This is a very educative post and yes even I was unaware about leprosy. Will post this further so that the word spreads.

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  • January 29, 2019 at 7:02 pm
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    This is an eye opening post on Leprosy.. Everyone should read and follow it.. thanks for sharing..

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  • January 29, 2019 at 9:16 pm
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    I don’t know that leprosy is the oldest disease. I appreciate the initiative and social awareness Sasakawa has taken for it.

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  • January 29, 2019 at 9:26 pm
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    People think people with leprosy are untouchables… They behave too badly with them! This is a really good initiative… I hope the awareness spreads!

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  • January 29, 2019 at 9:41 pm
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    This is one of the smarter and sensible hashtags I’ve read in a long time. Making use of technology in the awareness about discrimination against leprosy

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  • January 29, 2019 at 10:35 pm
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    That’s a very informative post on Leprosy. SILF is doing amazing job in creating the awareness of Leprosy.

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  • January 29, 2019 at 10:42 pm
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    I agree even though we have some amazing medical facilities and the disease can be cured but the stigma around it affects self confidence of people suffering from Leprosy. Lack of awareness in general public makes life of Leprosy patients difficult. Thanks for sharing .

    Reply
  • February 1, 2019 at 5:17 pm
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    Truly a great initiative to bring awareness about Leprosy.Hope people with the disease won’t be discriminated any longer.

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  • February 2, 2019 at 1:58 pm
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    Thanks for the informative post.

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  • February 2, 2019 at 4:36 pm
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    Very educative post and great way to eradicate the issue related to this disease.

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  • February 2, 2019 at 7:17 pm
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    Such information is always required to create awareness in everyone’s conscious and mind. Thanks for sharing the useful information on Leprosy.

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  • February 2, 2019 at 7:27 pm
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    I always thought that people suffering from leprosy should not be touched. There are so many myths around this. I am glad to find people associated with such noble cause.

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  • February 2, 2019 at 9:05 pm
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    This is such a sensitive campaign and so important to talk about Leprosy and break the myths associated with it

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  • February 3, 2019 at 1:47 pm
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    I wasn’t aware about these. Lemme tell you, this blost covers all the areas and one needn’t check Google again. Very well written 👍

    Reply
  • February 3, 2019 at 4:52 pm
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    Leprosy is a disease which needs careful diagnosis early. But social empathy will go a long way in removing stigma.

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  • February 4, 2019 at 8:03 pm
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    We should create more awareness about it. Stil it’s a social taboo. Leprosy is curable with proper medication and early diagnosis

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  • February 5, 2019 at 12:37 am
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    Thanks for sharing the details, it is really helpful post . Knowing more about the disease and spreading awareness of this is needed

    Reply
  • February 8, 2019 at 10:49 am
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    This really needs enlightenment to uplift the life of the affected. The lack of awareness has led to conjectured society. This is indeed a great initiative.

    Reply
  • February 8, 2019 at 11:54 am
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    This is very good initiative

    And very informative.

    Even if you are new for this

    Easy to understand process

    Thank you for sharing this.

    Reply
  • February 8, 2019 at 1:10 pm
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    It is essential to provide continuing vigorous education to patients and to their families, as well as to the community at large, about the causes, effects, and curable nature of the disease, as well as its low rate of transmission. This should become a community goal, with the treatment of patients being driven by compassion rather than fear.

    Reply
  • February 8, 2019 at 1:32 pm
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    We all are witness to the discremation that the Lepers go through. Is is sad that a curable condition can cost people such treatment and even their life…Awareness programs are serving well. It’s great that we got a chance to spread word about Leprosy. Hoping it would make difference in someone’s life.
    Mann💓
    #Superbloggerchallenge2019

    Reply
  • February 8, 2019 at 4:28 pm
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    A wonderful initiative!! Well detailed article!! It’s amazingly written. Thank you for giving insights

    Reply
  • February 9, 2019 at 7:21 pm
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    Some very good people are fighting against the stigma associated with leprosy. I once listened to a doctor long time back about how leprosy does not spread easily. He also spoke about a drug called Dapsun that is used to control and cure leprosy. Yours is a very informative article and gives us information on the organisations and kindred souls who have devoted themselves to struggling against the taboos surrounding this disease and educating people.

    Reply
  • February 9, 2019 at 9:29 pm
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    Never knew about leprosy in such detail. This is an awakening and alarming post.

    Reply
  • February 9, 2019 at 10:55 pm
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    Leprosy is an ailment which is seen as a stigma and as of today I was unaware why was it so. This post helped understand the issue.

    Reply
  • February 10, 2019 at 10:09 pm
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    Discrimination affects badly. I think its high time to understand and help people around us suffering from the same. Really informative post.

    Reply
  • February 10, 2019 at 11:20 pm
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    Very informative post that lists down the various facts of leprosy. Also got to know the awareness about how people are discriminated on this basis.

    Reply
  • February 11, 2019 at 12:34 pm
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    I always thought that leprosy is contagious & non curable. Kudos to this initiative to raise awareness about leprosy & end the stigma & discrimination attached to it. Thanks for sharing this highly informative post.

    Reply
  • February 11, 2019 at 2:01 pm
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    India has a taboo about Leprosy and what we can do is raise awareness. A very insightful article.

    Reply
  • February 11, 2019 at 5:23 pm
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    There is a lot of stigma and wrong misconceptions are still prevailing in our society when we are talking about AIDS and leprosy which need to be eliminated.
    Great initiative

    Reply
  • February 11, 2019 at 5:32 pm
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    I was under impression that India is Leprosy free now. Awareness is much need to diminish taboo.Informative post.

    Reply
  • February 11, 2019 at 6:32 pm
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    Good that you have voiced this out, leprosy has so many myths associated to it. It is time we should stop the discrimination. #SuperBloggerChallenge #instacuppa

    Reply
  • February 11, 2019 at 10:17 pm
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    A very informative post throwing light on unknown facets of this much dreaded disease. And its so heart warming to read about the progressive initiatives being taken to cater to those suffering from this disease.

    Reply
  • February 11, 2019 at 11:23 pm
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    Noble initiative. Thanks for busting so many myths around leprosy and bringing to light so many important facts. A must-read for all!

    Reply
  • February 12, 2019 at 5:25 pm
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    Well written post and much needed to spread awareness around leprosy. Thanks for sharing it!

    Reply
  • February 13, 2019 at 8:08 am
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    To be frank I was hardly aware about the Leprosy. Your post gave me more knowledge about it and definitely it helps to create awareness in many people. Such posts are required to help people and you are doing a great job! Keep it up 🙂

    Reply
  • February 13, 2019 at 10:22 am
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    This is a great awareness post. I didnt know much about leprosy in detail. All i know and have seen through media is leprosy people shouldnt be touched which is such a misconception. Thanks for this insightful post and its a great eye opener for people with perspective like mine.. very well written!! #superbloggerchallenge

    Reply
  • February 13, 2019 at 4:24 pm
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    I honestly didn’t know that leprosy is curable, non-hereditary and non-contagious. A great piece that busts some myths. I would definitely like to understand what are the causative factors for this disease though, since it is not hereditary.

    Reply
  • February 13, 2019 at 9:40 pm
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    Yes, people with leprosy are ignored and are denied basic human right. You have mentioned some unknown facts about leprosy in our country. Hope government wakes up to these numbers.

    Reply
  • February 14, 2019 at 12:35 am
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    This is a great initiative, we need to fight the stigma of Leprosy in India. Helpful post.

    Reply
  • February 14, 2019 at 6:44 pm
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    This is a great initiative!Thank you so much for sharing this.Must read and follow it.

    Reply

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