Putting An End To Leprosy

January 14, 2009

This site has one simple aim – to bring an end to Leprosy
Leprosy is curable and preventable and with sufficient human effort could be eradicated completely from the world. It has been curable since the 1980s and treatment is now widely accessible and free of charge. Fifteen million people have been cured of the illness, and it is now a public health problem in only four countries.

What is Leprosy?
Leprosy, also called Hansen’s Disease, is an infectious disease caused by the Mycobacterium Leprae. For those at risk, exposure to prolonged coughing and sneezing from an infected individual can spread the disease. Leprosy attacks the nervous system, deadening the body to pain, so that wounds are often left untreated. Because the individual does not feel any pain, infections are allowed to grow until they are so severe that limbs may require amputation. Leprosy can also cause fingers and toes to curl inward, feet to lose their ability to arch and even blindness. The end result is horrific disfigurement and lifelong stigma. But, if caught in time, leprosy can be treated and completely cured before the disfigurement begins. Early detection and treatment is essential in controlling the spread of this disease.

Public ignorance and fear mean that attitudes towards former Leprosy sufferers and those close to them remain unchanged; they are excluded from schools and workplaces, unable to find or keep marriage partners, and widely shunned by communities. Many are disabled, most are forced into poverty. There is no other illness whose sufferers continue to face such stigmatisation even after they have been cured.

Why Now?
25 January 2009 has been designated World Leprosy Day. This site has been initiated now, in the lead up to World Leprosy Day 2009, to revitalise and reenergise the efforts to eradicate this disfiguring disease.

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