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WHO Goodwill Ambassador's Newsletter For The Elimination Of Leprosy

NEWS: Countries Mark World Leprosy Day

Opportunity to raise awareness and promote human rights

PerMaTa rallies in Jakarta ob World Leprosy Day.

Around the world, people affected by leprosy and groups working to eliminate the disease staged rallies on January 25 to mark World Leprosy Day. In Indonesia, PerMaTa organized events in several locations, including this march (seen at left) in the capital, Jakarta.

In India, where the day is celebrated on January 30, the anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi's assassination, representatives of the National Forum, an organization of people affected by leprosy headed by Dr. P.K. Gopal, met with the country's president, Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil.

Held on the last Sunday in January, World Leprosy Day was started by Raoul Follereau in 1954. "Shall we leave millions of human beings to rot and die when we can, truly, treat them and probably cure them?" he wrote in announcing his initiative. "Why them and not me?"


Jose Ramirez, Jr., has authored a compelling account of his battle with leprosy, the associated stigma, and his role as an advocate for people affected by the disease.

Published by the University of Mississippi Press on February 1, 2009, Ramirez' story includes the nearly 10 years he spent at a leprosarium in Carville, Louisiana, and details the unconditional support he received from family and loved ones. For more information: