Demystifying a highly misunderstood disease – leprosy

Leprosy is the oldest infectious disease in human history – researchers believe that leprosy appears in an Egyptian Papyrus document written around 1550 B.C. This ancient disease thrives in the 21st century with over 2,00, 000 new cases detected in 150 countries in 2017.
Even today, when leprosy is curable, the age-old stigma attached to it has not been cured. Stigma is a reality in the lives of the people affected by leprosy, and this hampers their physical, psychological, social and economic well-being. The stigma attached to leprosy is so acute that persons affected by the disease, in many cases, are forced to leave their homes and live in isolated colonies. Stigma leads to irrational behaviour towards people affected by the disease. It is hurtful and leads to discriminatory practices.

Affirmative action for social inclusion of people affected by leprosy

The Supreme Court of India Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, and Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud had passed two orders in 2018 directing the Central and state governments to take certain steps for eliminating discrimination and promoting social inclusion of people affected by leprosy.

#BustLeprosyMyths – a short video countering myths about leprosy with real facts

“Leprosy is the result of a curse.” “Leprosy cannot be cured.” How many of us have grown up hearing this?

But the unfortunate part is, we believe in such myths about leprosy and these myths add to the stigma associated with leprosy.

Championing a cause long-forgotten

The Leprosy Mission Trust India (TLMTI) has so far developed over 420 Champions (persons affected by leprosy) from across the country. They are in the forefront in the fight against leprosy. They are a ‘movement’ – a movement to eradicate leprosy from India (which has 60% of the global leprosy caseload), end leprosy stigma, promote social inclusion of people affected by leprosy, and get laws discriminating against people affected by leprosy repealed (there are 119 such laws).

National meet: #ChampionsForZeroLeprosy

The Leprosy Mission Trust India (TLMTI), over the last few years, developed over 240 Champions (persons affected by leprosy) who have overcome the challenges of leprosy to champion the cause of people affected by leprosy, from across the country. TLMTI, through its CREATE project, organised a 2-day national meet of the Champions in New Delhi, from November 27-28, 2018.