World Leprosy day 2023: Date, History, Theme, Poster & Significance-Complete Details

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World Leprosy Day is an annual event observed on the last Sunday of January to raise awareness about leprosy and its impact on individuals and communities. The day is an opportunity to educate the public about the disease, its causes, and the ways in which it can be treated and prevented.

Also, see World Braille Day 2023: History, Themes, Quotes & Significance

What is Leprosy?

▪ Leprosy is a long-term infection caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae, an acid-fast, rod-shaped bacillus. It primarily affects the skin, the peripheral nerves, the mucosa of the upper respiratory tract, and the eyes. However, it can be treated and early intervention can prevent permanent damage.

World Leprosy Day Poster
World Leprosy Day Poster

Leprosy Meaning

Leprosy Meaning in Bengali

▪ “Leprosy disease” কে বাংলাতে কুষ্ রোগ বলা হয় , এটি হ্যানসেন রোগ নামেও পরিচিত।
▪ম্যাইকোব্যাকটেরিয়াম লেপরে নামক একপ্রকারের ব্যাকটিরিয়ার কারণে এই রোগ হয়।
▪ এই রোগে ত্বক, শ্লৈষ্মিক ঝিল্লি, পেরিফেরাল স্নায়ু, চোখ এবং শ্বাসযন্ত্র প্রভাবিত হয়।

Leprosy Meaning in Hindi

▪ “Leprosy disease” को हिंदी में कुश रोग कहते हैं, जिसे हैनसेन रोग भी कहते हैं।
▪ यह रोग माइकोबैक्टीरियम लेप्री नामक जीवाणु के कारण होता है।
▪ इस रोग में त्वचा, श्लेष्मा झिल्ली, परिधीय तंत्रिकाएं, आंखें और श्वसन तंत्र प्रभावित होते हैं।

World leprosy day date

▪ World Leprosy Day is observed internationally every year on the last Sunday of January.

▪ In 2023, World Leprosy Day is observed on Sunday, January 29.

▪ In India, January 30th is commemorated as World Leprosy Day, in honor of the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

▪ The day is celebrated to raise public awareness about leprosy, also known as Hansen’s Disease.

History of the day

▪ This date was selected by French humanitarian Raoul Follereau in honor of Mahatma Gandhi, who showed compassion for those affected by leprosy.

▪ The day began to be observed in 1954.

World Leprosy Day Images
World Leprosy Day Images

World leprosy day Theme

▪ The theme of World Leprosy Day changes each year to focus on a specific aspect of leprosy and its impact.

▪ This year’s theme will be announced by WHO and aims to draw attention to ongoing efforts to eliminate leprosy and the discrimination faced by people affected by 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.

▪ This international day serves as an occasion to recognize individuals who have been impacted by leprosy, increase awareness about the disease, and advocate for the elimination of discrimination and negative stereotypes associated with leprosy.

WHO’s response towards Zero Leprosy

▪ In April 2021, WHO released the ‘Towards Zero Leprosy – Global Leprosy (Hansen’s disease) Strategy 2021-2030’ after extensive consultation with countries, leprosy experts, partners, and individuals affected by the disease.

▪ This strategy aligns with the NTD road map 2030 and aims to eliminate leprosy and its associated discrimination.

▪ The ultimate long-term vision of this strategy is to Zero leprosy: zero infection and disease, zero disability, zero stigma, and discrimination.

▪ The World Health Organization (WHO) has established global targets for 2030 in order to achieve the elimination of leprosy. These targets include:

  1. 120 countries with zero new autochthonous cases
  2. 70% reduction in the annual number of new cases detected
  3. 90% reduction in rate per million population of new cases with grade-2 disability (G2D)
  4. 90% reduction in rate per million children of new child cases with leprosy

What Causes Leprosy

▪ Leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, is caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium leprae.

▪ Mycobacterium leprae is an acid-fast and rod-shaped Gram-positive bacteria, it can only survive within host cells. Unlike Mycobacterium tuberculosis, it cannot be grown in laboratory media without host cells.

World Leprosy Day Poster
World Leprosy Day Poster

Leprosy Symptoms

▪ The bacteria primarily affects the skin and nerves and can cause a variety of symptoms, including discolored patches on the skin, numbness in the hands and feet, muscle weakness, and damage to the eyes, nose, and feet.

▪ Discolored patches of skin
▪ Thick, stiff, or dry skin
▪ Painless ulcers on the soles of feet
▪ Painless swelling or lumps on the face or earlobes
▪ Loss of eyebrows or eyelashes
▪ Numbness of affected areas of the skin
▪ Muscle weakness
▪ Enlarged nerves
▪ Eye problems that may lead to blindness
▪ Enlarged nerves below the skin
▪ A stuffy nose
▪ Nosebleeds
▪ Loss of eyebrows
▪ Nose disfigurement

How is leprosy transmitted?

▪ The disease is primarily spread through prolonged close contact with an infected person, usually by inhaling droplets from the nose and mouth of an infected person.

▪ It can also be transmitted through direct skin-to-skin contact with an infected person, but this is less common.

▪ It is important to note that this disease is not highly contagious and most people who are exposed to the bacteria do not develop the disease.

World Leprosy Day Poster
World Leprosy Day Poster

Leprosy Treatment

▪ Early diagnosis and treatment, disease progression can be halted and symptoms can be effectively managed.

▪ Hansen’s disease is treated with a combination of antibiotics known as multidrug therapy (MDT). This typically includes the use of two or three antibiotics simultaneously, such as dapsone combined with rifampicin, with the addition of clofazimine for certain forms of the disease.

Some Key Facts about Leprosy Day

▪ The Leprosy disease, which is caused by the slow-growing bacteria Mycobacterium leprae, was renamed Hansen’s disease after it was discovered by Norwegian scientist Gerhard Henrik Armauer Hansen in 1873.

▪ It is transmitted through close contact with untreated cases and can take up to 20 years or more to develop symptoms.

▪ The disease primarily affects the skin, nerves, respiratory tract, and eyes, and if left untreated can lead to permanent damage.

▪ However, it is curable with multidrug therapy.

▪ According to official figures from 139 countries, there were 127558 new cases of leprosy detected globally in 2020, including 8,629 children under 15 years old.

▪ The rate of new cases among children was 4.4 per million child population.

▪ Additionally, 7,198 new cases were detected with grade 2 disabilities, with a rate of 0.9 per million population.

▪ At the end of 2020, there were 129,389 cases being treated, with a prevalence rate of 16.7 per million population.

▪ However, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted program implementation and led to a 37% decrease in new case detection in 2020 compared to 2019.

World Leprosy Day Poster
World Leprosy Day Poster

How do we celebrate World Leprosy Day?

▪ The most impactful way to celebrate World Leprosy Day is by organizing events that aim to decrease the stigma associated with leprosy and increase knowledge about the disease.

▪ If you want to raise awareness this World Leprosy Day, here are some key facts and details that you can share:

▪ Leprosy is a curable disease that can be treated with Multi-Drug Therapy (MDT) which is available for free worldwide.

▪ If leprosy is left untreated, leprosy can result in serious complications.

▪ Leprosy is an ancient disease, dating back at least 4,000 years, yet it still exists today.

▪ The goal is to eliminate the transmission of leprosy in 120 countries by 2030.

▪ Due to the disruptions caused by COVID-19, the number of people diagnosed with leprosy each year has decreased by 30%.

▪ Despite this, millions of people continue to live with leprosy-related disabilities, particularly in Asia, Africa, and South America.

World leprosy eradication day quotes

▪ Here are a few quotes that could be shared on World Leprosy Day to raise awareness of the disease and inspire action to eliminate it:

▪ “Let us work together to raise awareness about leprosy and provide support for those affected by it. Together, we can eliminate this disease once and for all.”

▪ “Leprosy is an ancient disease that still exists today, but we can be the generation that finally ends it.” – World Health Organization

▪ “Leprosy is a disease that has been with us for thousands of years, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right resources, we can eradicate it for good.”

World Leprosy Day Poster
World Leprosy Day Poster

▪ “The fight against leprosy is a fight for the dignity and rights of some of the most marginalized people in the world.”

▪ “There is no charity more vital which has been so long neglected as the fight against this terrible disease.”

▪ “The fight against leprosy is not just about treating the disease, it’s about treating the person affected by it with dignity and respect.”

▪ “Leprosy is curable, yet it remains a disease of poverty, a disease of ignorance, and a disease of fear.”

▪ “Leprosy is not only a disease of the skin, nerves, limbs, and eyes but also a disease of fear, rejection and living death.” – World Health Organization

▪ “Leprosy is not a death sentence, it is a disease that can be treated and cured. Let’s work together to end the stigma and discrimination associated with it.”

▪ “Leprosy is a disease that can be cured, but it remains a disease of poverty and exclusion. Together, we can change this.”

World Leprosy Day Poster
World Leprosy Day Poster

World Leprosy Day Wishes

▪ “Today, let’s raise awareness & support those affected by leprosy. Wishing you all a happy World Leprosy Day.”

▪ “Today, let’s pledge to eliminate the leprosy disease. Wishing you all a happy World Leprosy Day.”

▪ “Let’s make a difference on World Leprosy Day by spreading awareness and providing support. Wishing you all a day of progress and unity.”

▪ “On World Leprosy Day, let’s unite in the fight against this disease. Wishing you all a day of hope.”

▪ “On this World Leprosy Day, let’s come together to fight this disease. Wishing you all a day of awareness and action.”

▪ “Let’s pledge to eliminate leprosy, on World Leprosy Day. Wishing you all a day of awareness & hope.”

▪ “Wishing a happy World Leprosy Day, let’s raise awareness & support those affected.”

▪ “On World Leprosy Day, let’s come together to end the transmission of this disease. Wishing you all a day of unity and action.”

▪ “On this World Leprosy Day, let’s stand in solidarity with those affected by leprosy. Wishing you all a day of progress and hope.”

▪ “On this World Leprosy Day, let’s break the stigma & support those affected. Wishing you all a day of progress.”

▪ “On World Leprosy Day, let’s raise our voices to end the discrimination & support those affected. Wishing you all a day of hope and progress.”

World Leprosy Day Poster
World Leprosy Day Poster

World Leprosy Day in a Nutshell

Official NameWorld Leprosy Day
Date29 January (last Sunday of January)
Date (in India)30 January
Observed byWorld Health Organisation (WHO)
Theme 2023. “Act Now. End Leprosy.”
Another name of LeprosyHansen’s Disease.
SignificanceRaising awareness about leprosy and the need for early diagnosis and treatment

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. What was the theme of 2023 world leprosy day?

Answer: The theme of World Leprosy Day 2023 is “Act Now. End Leprosy.”

Q2. Anti-leprosy day is observed on which date in India?

Answer: In India, January 30th is celebrated annually as Anti-Leprosy Day in honor of the martyrdom of Mahatma Gandhi.

Q3. What is world leprosy day?

Answer: World Leprosy Day is a day set aside to increase awareness of the disease caused by the Mycobacterium leprae bacteria.

Q4. World leprosy day is observed on?

Answer: World Leprosy Day is observed on the last Sunday of January each year, In 2023, it’s on January 29th.

Q5. Why was leprosy changed to Hansen’s disease?

Answer: Leprosy was renamed Hansen’s disease after it was discovered by Gerhard Henrik Armauer Hansen, a Norwegian scientist, in 1873.

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