Can you touch people with Leprosy? Yes
Is Leprosy hereditary? No
Can Leprosy be treated? Yes
Is the treatment affordable? It’s free.
Then why are there so many people with Leprosy affected disabilities?
Here in lies the problem. That’s exactly why Sasakawa foundation and Youth against Leprosy are trying to change.
- The main challenge still is early diagnosis and treatment
- Practical problems in detection. All parts of the body have to be checked in good light. But the places at the primary health care level are often lacking such facility.
- The social stigma of the disease and rehabilitation
- Streamlining those living with challenges, to a life with dignity.
- Increasing resources toward monitoring and controlling leprosy.
- Rehabilitation of the patients at the economic and social level.
LEPROSY: All you need to know
The journey to fight and eliminate leprosy became easier when MDT(multi drug therapy) was approved by WHO. The Nippon Foundation and their chairman Yohei Sasakawa worked tirelessly towards this goal. He was chosen as the Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy and there was no looking back. The Global Appeal to End Stigma and Discrimination Against People Affected by Leprosy happens annually across the world to spread awareness. In India, it started with S-ILF or Sasakawa India Leprosy Foundation.
Fighting leprosy: S-ILF Sasakawa India Leprosy Foundation.
In this challenging background, Sasakawa India Leprosy Foundation (S-ILF) has brought a ray of hope. Sasakawa-India Leprosy Foundation (S-ILF) established in November 2006, with inspiration from Mr. Yohei Sasakawa, WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy eradication.
They are helping in mainstreaming leprosy affected persons by socio-economic inclusion and empowerment. Sasakawa-India Leprosy Foundation (S-ILF) is fighting leprosy from both ends. Fight the disease with early diagnosis and treatment. Fight the stigma, social economic issues with social, support and financial help.
The story of Shankari born to parents with leprosy is empowering. She was educated so that she could earn a living. Two of her daughter were educated and becoming nurses. But after her husband died, supporting the third one would have been difficult without Sasakawa’s scholarship.
The story of Anita Bhavre, who won the Rising with Dignity award in 2012. She had opened a sari shop with her friends, which they ran successfully fighting stigma. Then, later on, she became a healthcare worker. Anita’s life has always been full of challenges. . Her Grandfather and his two brothers were Leprosy affected. Anita’s father Leprosy also affected Anita’s father and the whole family was outcasted. Anita got leprosy when she was in class five. But her family being aware spotted the patch early and her treatment was started quickly. This prevented any deformity.
The story of Rakesh Das, Preparing for CA with S-ILF’s scholarship for higher studies in his own words
I got the scholarship from S-ILF to pursue my dream course in Chartered Accountancy (IPCC) from Mycom Institute due to which my life has changed. Now I can see myself as a successful individual. My goal is to support leprosy-affected children so that they can achieve their goal too.”
Kedavamma, running a livelihood project, Karim Nagar, Andhra Pradesh got a chance to become financially independednt with the help of S-ILF
In her own words,
About ten years ago, I was engaged in begging without a source of a dignified income. Then S-ILF supported me and with their financial support, I now have an independent income. I have one buffalo and two calves and I am earning a decent income with dignity.
The Youth against Leprosy (YAL) is a program, drafted for the young generation who falls in the age group of 16 to 25 years (College Level).
By breaking down, us versus they divide, the youth can interact with youths from leprosy-affected families.
They can spread awareness about early symptoms so that people can get timely treatment
They can use various mediums like theatre, social media, blogs to spread awareness and the stories of the people who are living a life with dignity following help by SILF.
The youth can help prevent spread misinformation and the stigma of the disease and disability.
They can spread the story of hope of cure with timely early treatment.
They can promote inclusion and stop discrimination.
Promoting and supporting financial support services and giving access to education and finances for self-reliance, to leprosy-affected and their family
Supporting community-based rehabilitation
They can help hold the hands of those who need it most.
What is Leprosy?
Leprosy Definition: It’s a chronic infectious disease caused by a bacteria Mycobacterium leprae.
How does Leprosy spread? It spreads through droplets, from the nose and mouth, during close and frequent contacts with untreated cases. Mycobacterium leprae multiplies slowly. The incubation period is five years. That means after exposure the disease may occur even five years later. There have been instances where the disease has occurred within one year and as late as 20years.
Leprosy Symptoms: The disease mainly affects the skin, peripheral nerves, mucosa of the upper respiratory tract, and the eyes. Leprosy when untreated or treated late can cause progressive and permanent damage to the skin, nerves, limbs, and eyes. This is what causes the physical stigma of leprosy.
Limiting disability needs early diagnosis and this is where awareness at the grassroots level, awareness of youth and social awareness will help.
Early detection and treatment can cure. It can also prevent disability. Managing disability is also important,
Leprosy cure: Treatment is with multidrug therapy including Dapsone, Rifampicin, Clofazimine.
The main challenges are reaching the interiors and leprosy pockets for early detection, treatment and limiting disability.
Increased surveillance for disease and strong commitment for monitoring continuing treatment
The Indian parliament passed a historical amendment. There were 119 laws which discriminated against leprosy-affected. Leprosy was shockingly a reason for divorce. It was wrongly thought to be an incurable disease. But now that change is made. The, next change needs to start with you and the youth of India.
29th January Youth festival to raise awareness amongst youth and to eliminate stigmata
30th January World Leprosy Day
Do your part in spreading the word. Share and help spread awareness
Leprosy has a treatment to cure and prevent disability. It should never be pushed to darkness. Let us come forward together to share the stories of those who are fighting all odds. Everyone has a right to a dignified life and living. Together we can help them.
Disclaimer: This is information for awareness.As healthcare information is constantly updated, the blog post is not meant to be a replacement for a doctor consultation, nor is it a medical recommendation or treatments.Any reader of this blog, with problems, should specifically consult his/her doctor for medical conditions and follow the suggested course of treatment’.