Top Message


Dr Etsuko KITA, Chair

Dr. Etsuko KITA,

On April 1, 2013, I assumed my post as chair of Sasakawa Memorial Health Foundation. Some 40 years have passed since the foundation was established by Ryoichi Sasakawa, the founding chairman of The Nippon Foundation, and Professor Morizo Ishidate. During that time, it has benefited from the concerted efforts of many people, including Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara, who now serves as honorary president, and Professor Kenzo Kiikuni, the current president. To all I would like to express my sincere appreciation for their support and cooperation.

I intend to make full use of the knowledge and experience I have gained in my career to see that our activities as a public interest incorporated foundation are more effective than ever.

Our foundation is engaged in three areas of endeavor: Hansen’s disease; palliative care; and public health. We are committed to achieving a world without Hansen’s disease and its related problems. In the field of palliative care, we are working to enhance the quality of life of individuals with all diseases and their family members, and promoting home care as a way of providing better health care in an aging society. Regarding public health, our focus is on nurturing human resources that make a contribution to global health care services.

Through these wide-ranging activities, Sasakawa Memorial Health Foundation is working to realize a better life for each individual and a better world for all.

I thank you and look forward to your continued support.

Etsuko Kita MD, PhD, Chair


Dr Shigeaki HINOHARA, Honorary President

Dr. Shigeaki HINOHARA,
Honorary President

Sasakawa Memorial Health Foundation was established in 1974 to realize the grand dream of its two founders—Ryoichi Sasakawa and Professor Morizo Ishidate—to eliminate Hansen’s disease from the world.

At the time, there were an estimated 12 million people with Hansen’s disease, but the situation changed following the introduction of multidrug therapy (MDT) in the 1980s and its distribution free of charge throughout the world. With the availability of an effective cure, the number of new cases diagnosed each year has come down to around 230,000.

As new cases continue to occur, however, it is essential to ensure early diagnosis and proper treatment to prevent disability. It is also a fact that stigma and discrimination remain deep-rooted, affecting someone even after he or she has been cured. We are committed to seeing that Hansen’s disease is diagnosed early and treated properly, and to realizing a world in which people affected by leprosy, together with their families, can live in dignity and enjoy equal access to opportunities as members of an inclusive society.

Prof. Kenzo KIIKUNI, President

Prof. Kenzo KIIKUNI,

In the field of palliative care, our aim is to improve the quality of care and focus not only on the medical but also on the emotional and social aspects. We believe that palliative care must be accessible to all individuals with all known diseases as well as to their family members and encompass the relief of physical, psychosocial and spiritual pain and suffering. It is total and holistic care for all, and our goal is to see that it is accessible at any time and from any location where support and care are needed.

In April 2013, Dr. Etsuko Kita, former president of the Japanese Red Cross Kyushu International University of Nursing, became chair of the foundation. We would like to share with her the knowledge and experience we have acquired as we continue our efforts to realize a world in which everyone can live a better life.

We thank you for your continued guidance, understanding and support.

Shigeaki Hinohara, MD, Honorary President
Kenzo Kiikuni, President