World Leprosy Day 2021

World Leprosy Day is observed on the last Sunday of January every year. This year, it will be observed on January 31. However, in India, World Leprosy Day is observed on January 30.

What is Leprosy?

Leprosy is an infectious disease that is caused by a bacillus, Mycobacterium leprae. The disease affects the peripheral nerves, skin, eyes, limbs, and mucosa of the upper respiratory tract. Its treatment and prevention are possible. If detected at early stages, damage to the skin and other parts can be prevented. Multidrug therapy (MDT) is used to cure Leprosy.

Key Points

  • January 30 is also the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and on the same day, India observes World Leprosy Day.
  • People suffering from the disease also suffer from discrimination in society.
  • A day dedicated to the disease is to create awareness and eliminate it.
  • World Leprosy Day was started by Raoul Follereau in the year 1954.
  • Follereau was a French philanthropist and writer who established the day to raise global awareness among people that leprosy can be prevented, treated, and cured.
  • Every year various events are conducted to provide information to the people for preventing the spread of Leprosy, its treatment, and the importance to end stigma.

As per the World Health Organisation data from 159 countries, a total of 208619 new leprosy cases were registered across the world in the year 2018. The prevalence rate is 0.2/10 000 (determined on the basis of 184 212 cases at the end of 2018).

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