New Global Appeal Launched To End The Stigma Of Leprosy

(02.02.2012) A new worldwide appeal to end the stigma of leprosy has been launched by The Nippon Foundation and the World Medical Association. In a ceremony held by the Brazilian Medical Association at the Paulista Medical Association in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the Global Appeal 2012 to End Stigma and Discrimination against People Affected by Leprosy was officially launched.

Mr. Tatsuya Tanami, representing The Nippon Foundation, said that these days the annual number of new cases being reported worldwide was a little over 200,000. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment resulted in a complete cure, he said, yet that didn't prevent many people suffering from severe discrimination because of the disease. He conveyed a message from Mr. Yohei Sasakawa, the Chairperson of The Nippon Foundation, who could not attend because of ill health, that ‘Leprosy is curable, treatment is free and there must be no social stigma in the 21st century.'

Dr. José Luiz Gomes do Amaral, President of the World Medical Association, said: ‘Hansen's disease, or leprosy as it is more commonly known, can be eliminated. This is feasible and we should not fall short of our aspirations. But we also have to care for those who have acquired the disease. We have to treat them and we have to make sure they are not discriminated against, segregated or otherwise stigmatized.'

Mr. Tanami added: ‘A patient is not really cured until stigma ends.'

The WMA has endorsed the initiative of The Nippon Foundation by supporting the Global Appeal 2012 as well as developing its own policy recommending all National Medical Associations to defend the right of the people affected with leprosy and members of their families,.

The Nippon Foundation is a private Japanese foundation that is engaged in the support of patients with leprosy. The Nippon Foundation is one of the biggest private donors to the World Health Organization.

The Text of the Global Appeal 2012 can be found under