Today, on World Leprosy Day, we acknowledge that this curable disease is still having a devastating impact on the lives of millions of people on our planet. Leprosy is one of the most misunderstood and stigmatized diseases in existence.
Imagine, for a moment, the social and emotional consequences of being cast out of your home and having your loved ones suddenly afraid to touch you, to be near you, or to spend any time with you at all. Imagine being disowned by your community, treated like an outcast, and being left to fend for yourself economically with physical disabilities that may severely impact your ability to pick up a pen, to carry objects, to see clearly, or to even walk.
This is still happening for millions of people around the world, but we can play a part in changing this narrative.
Did you know that leprosy is actually not very contagious at all? It is caused by a slow growing bacteria that "95% of adults cannot catch because their immune system can fight [it] off" (CDC, 2021). Can you imagine if everyone knew this? How profoundly millions of lives would change if they, and their families, had access to this knowledge?
Did you know that once a person has been treated for leprosy, they are no longer contagious? And that treatment is offered for free around the world? Early intervention and treatment can also prevent any permanent physical disabilities caused by the bacteria.
Leprosy does not need to have such a devastating impact on individuals and communities. Interventions are available and awareness of the facts is key.
So what can you do to help?
1. Share this article today to be a small part of the change.
2. Consider donating to our Elders' Home, which provides a safe place for elders impacted by leprosy to call home, to feel included in society, and have their physical, social, emotional, and spiritual needs met.
Make a secure online donation or view our additional donations options.