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.
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.
- 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.