International Gandhi Awards for Leprosy

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News:The President has conferred the International Gandhi Awards for Leprosy to Dr NS Dharmashaktu in the individual category and the Leprosy Mission Trust under the institutional category.

Facts:

About the Prize:

  • The International Gandhi Award for Leprosy was constituted by the Gandhi Memorial Leprosy Foundation in 1950. 
  • Since then, it has been leading the efforts to completely eradicate the disease and erase the stigma surrounding it.

About Leprosy:

  • Leprosy also known as Hansen’s disease(HD) is a chronic infection caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae and Mycobacterium lepromatosis.
  • Leprosy is not highly infectious.It is transmitted via droplets from the nose and mouth during close and frequent contacts with untreated cases.
  • Leprosy is curable with the combination of drugs known as Multi-Drug Therapy (MDT).

World Health Organisation’s Global Leprosy Strategy(2016):The key interventions as provided in the Strategy include:

  • Detecting cases early before visible disabilities occur with a special focus on children as a way to reduce disabilities and reduce transmission;
  • Targeting detection among higher risk groups through campaigns in highly endemic areas or communities; and
  • Improving health care coverage and access for marginalized populations among others.

Initiatives by India:

SPARSH Leprosy Awareness Campaign:

  • In 2017,the Indian Government had launched the Campaign to promote awareness and address the issues of stigma and discrimination against Leprosy.

National leprosy elimination Programme:

  • Launched in 1983 to eliminate leprosy through early detection, effective treatment and increased awareness.
  • In 2005,India achieved the goal of elimination of leprosy as a public health problem defined as less than 1 case per 10,000 population.