World Leprosy Eradication Day – Raising Awareness
World Leprosy Eradication Day is celebrated on the 30th of January every year or the closest Sunday to this day. In 2018, World Leprosy Eradication Day will be held on the 28th of January. It is the one day of the year when the spotlight is thrown on this dreadful disease. It helps highlight the issues faced by people living with the condition. This day is also used to spread awareness to people who don’t know much about leprosy and to provide tips to those people who are helping those afflicted by Leprosy.
Leprosy is also known as Hansens Disease after the scientist Dr Armauer Hansen who helped find the bacteria that was responsible for the disease. Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae which results in severe disfiguring skin sores and nerve damage in the arms and legs. In ancient times due to a lack of knowledge this disease came with a lot of stigma. People were unaware of the cause of the disease and hence treated it as a sign of bad omen shunning the person and the family they belonged to. Unfortunately the stigma has spread and continues to this day with the victims being treated as outcasts.
What Causes Leprosy?
As mentioned before Leprosy is caused by bacteria known as Mycobacterium leprae. It was discovered by Dr Armauer Hansen. The bacteria cause an infection which destroys the nervous cells in the affected area. Long-term exposure to poor sanitary conditions may contribute to leprosy. Mycobacterium leprae is transmitted primarily through coughing and sneezing. It is not transmitted through sexual contact or pregnancy.
The most important thing to note is that Leprosy cannot be spread by touching. It is possible for you to show compassion to the afflicted without being repulsed because the disease cannot be spread by touching.
What are the symptoms/signs of leprosy?
Leprosy affects the skin and nerve cells in the body. It can be clearly noticed because of spots that form on the skin. The spots can be slightly red, or marked by a clearly different pigmentation from normal skin. The affected areas can become numb. If you have a spot that feels numb and hair loss only in that one particular area you should get it checked. The blinking reflex of the eye is also restricted when a person has leprosy. This could lead to dryness in the eye and the person can also suffer from blindness because of the same. In the final stages of the disease the person suffering from it will show signs of crippling and deformity.
Can Leprosy Be Prevented / Cured?
The good news is that Leprosy can be easily cured if detected early in the stages. Patient using Mutli-Drug Therapy (MDT) have known to be cured quite quickly. MDT has been known to kill the bacteria quite quickly and it also arrests the spread of the disease.
Since Leprosy is caused due to bacteria it can easily be prevented. Try and keep your surroundings clean. In homes with even modest incomes this isn’t much of a problem. People living in poverty or struggling to make ends meet have a tougher time keeping their conditions better because of their surroundings. It therefore becomes the responsibility of the more educated to help spread the awareness of the problem with their family and friends.
How You Can Help
The main concern of this day is to help spread awareness about the disease. The best way you can help is by talking about this topic with your friends and family. Your domestic help or workers in your office and business are the ones that are more likely to contract the disease due to a lack of information. Make sure to talk to them about the how and why of leprosy. The best thing would be to be able to remove the stigma of this disease and help the ones that are affected by this disease. You can also help by sharing this blog with your friends and ask them to do the same.
Shrikhande IVF and Surrogacy Center is committed to ensure that India as a country is as disease free as possible by using our resources in spreading awareness about various disease. Leprosy does not spread through pregnancy. Pregnant women suffering from leprosy deliver perfectly healthy babies. If you are suffering from Leprosy and are worried about how it may affect your child get in touch today. Book an appointment for more information.