Dr. Yo Yuasa once remarked that he was not very good at dealing with people. The son of an entomologist, he was fascinated by insects and would collect creepy-crawlies as a boy and display them on the dinner table at the family home in Kyoto. He also liked animals and spending time in the outdoors, and dreamed of going to Australia one day and starting a big farm.
How fortunate for all those with leprosy that Dr. Yuasa encountered M.leprae and made the disease his career. It is no exaggeration to say that millions of individuals around the world have benefitted over the years from his many contributions to leprosy work—from playing his part in the introduction of multidrug therapy to promoting its public health application and recognizing that treatment of leprosy involves not only healing the disease but restoring the whole person to the community.
Whatever his own feelings may have been about dealing with people, Dr. Yuasa left a huge impression on those he worked with, as the soon-to-be-published testimonials and tributes collected by Sasakawa Memorial Health Foundation attest. Taken together with the collection of his own speeches and writings that came out last year, they indicate just what an influential and transformative figure he was in the recent history of leprosy. Thank you, Dr. Yuasa.