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World Leprosy Day – Jan. 26, 2014
Hansen’s disease (also known as leprosy) is a long-lasting infection caused by bacteria. It’s easily treatable with a combination of antibiotics for 6 months to 2 years.
For more than 50 years, on the last Sunday of January, thousands of people across the globe have stopped to remember those who suffer the horrendous effects of leprosy.
In 1953, a great humanitarian, M. Raoul Follereau of France, proclaimed the first World Leprosy Day to call attention to the plight of the world’s millions of people affected by this ancient, devastating disease. Over the years, this observance has grown and more than 100 countries now participate in World Leprosy Day on the last Sunday in January.
Many Americans think of leprosy as an ancient disease that was eradicated many years ago. But every year, hundreds of thousands of children, women and men discover they have leprosy. For many centuries, leprosy stigmatized those affected because there was no cure. Those who had the disease had to live with the disabilities that are so common in leprosy – they simply had no choice.
World Leprosy Day helps to focus on the needs of some of the poorest and most marginalized people in the world – those affected by leprosy. It helps to tell the story to people who do not know that leprosy still exists and that it can now be cured. It also helps raise funds so that those with leprosy can be cured and cared for.
Just $348 provides the cure and ongoing care for one person affected by leprosy!