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Global appeal for action to end stigma against Leprosy patients

Nippon Foundation
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Yohei Sasakawa and others at Global Appeal against Leprosy stigma in New Delhi

BS RAWAT
NEW DELHI:
An annual initiative, Global Appeal, was held in New Delhi on January 30, 2019, the World Leprosy Day. The Appeal was taken up by The Nippon Foundation (TNF) to end stigma and discrimination faced by leprosy patients and their families.

The appeal, read in the presence of Union Minister for Law and  Technology, Ravi Shankar Prasad, aims at bringing international attention to the stigma and unjust treatment that still affects those affected by this fully curable disease.

Explaining the intent of the program, Yohei Sasakawa, chairman, TNF, said: “Global Appeal require a call to action to raise awareness in society by providing correct information about leprosy, including that it is a curable disease with free treatment available and that discrimination is unjustifiable.”

Dr. Vineeta Shanker, Executive Director of Sasakawa-India Leprosy Foundation said: “Actions and initiatives such as the recent Divorce Bill passed in Lok Sabha and this summit are part of the ongoing efforts to make the world a better place for such people. These steps are sure to contribute to the improvement of the overall social environment and the negative perception around leprosy.”

She pointed out, “The major step in fighting stigma and discrimination is awareness and scientific knowledge.”

Tarun Das, Chairman – Sasakawa India Leprosy Foundation, said: “This year it is very encouraging to see critical stakeholders coming together and we are optimistic to work towards the Vision of Leprosy Free India by 2030”


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