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“Don’t forget leprosy” campaign gathers pace as World Leprosy Day approaches

Sasakawa Leprosy (Hansen’s Disease) Initiative is collaborating with 32 organizations from 13 countries to promote the message “Don’t forget leprosy” in the run-up to World Leprosy Day on January 30. The international campaign includes awareness-raising events and outreach to governments, and is being publicized via newspapers, television, radio and social media.

Based in Tokyo, Japan, Sasakawa Leprosy (Hansen’s Disease) Initiative launched the “Don’t forget leprosy” campaign in August 2021 to ensure that efforts against leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, are not sidelined amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Taking part are NGOs, organizations of persons affected by leprosy, research institutes and government agencies from Bangladesh, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Portugal, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and the United Kingdom. (See Chart 1)

The Initiative’s Yohei Sasakawa, who serves as WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy Elimination, said: “The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been particularly hard on persons affected by leprosy and their families who were in a vulnerable situation to begin with. Lockdowns and other measures to prevent the spread of the virus have caused many problems at the field level, making access to medical services difficult, causing loss of livelihoods and exacerbating the difficulties that persons affected by leprosy already encounter due to stigma and discrimination. They must not be forgotten.”


Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of The Nippon Foundation, has served as WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy Elimination since 2001. He is part of Sasakawa Leprosy (Hansen’s Disease) Initiative, which has organized the “Don’t forget leprosy” campaign.
NoCountryType of organizationParticipating organizationSupporting organization
1IndiaNGOAcworth Leprosy Hospital Society for Research, Rehabilitation & Education in Leprosy 
2IndiaPeople’s OrganizationAssociation of People Affected by Leprosy (APAL) 
3IndiaPeople’s OrganizationAtma Swabhiman 
4IndiaNGOGreater Tenali Leprosy Treatment and Education Scheme Society (GRETNALTES) 
5IndiaNGOSasakawa-India Leprosy Foundation (S-ILF) 
6IndiaNGOSt Joseph Leprosy HospitalFather Muller Charitable Institutions
7IndiaNGONLR India Foundation 
8BrazilPeople’s OrganizationMorhan 
9IndonesiaResearch organizationEijkman Oxford Clinical Research Unit / University of OxfordPapua Health Research and Development Center-MoH Indonesia
10IndonesiaPeople’s OrganizationPerMaTa South SulawesiYayasan Dedikasi Tjipta Indonesia
11BangladeshPeople’s OrganizationAdvancing Leprosy and disadvantaged peoples Opportunities society (ALO)The Leprosy Mission (TLM)-Bangladesh
12NepalNGOThe Leprosy Mission NepalIDEA Nepal
13Papua New GuineaNGOThe Leprosy Mission Papua New Guinea (TLM PNG) 
14NigeriaPeople’s OrganizationIDEA NigeriaLeprosy and Tuberculosis Initiative Nigeria
15NigeriaPeople’s OrganizationPurple Hope Initiative Nigeria (pHIN)German Leprosy and Tuberculosis Relief Association (GLRA)- Nigeria
16NigeriaNGOThe Leprosy Mission (TLM)-Nigeria 
17Sierra LeonePeople’s OrganizationNational Association of Persons Affected by Leprosy (NAPAL)German Leprosy and Tuberculosis Relief Association (GLRA)- Sierra Leone
18SenegalPeople’s OrganizationAssociation Senegalaise de Lutte Contre la Lepre et les Maladies Tropicales Negligees (ASCL/MTN)German Leprosy and Tuberculosis Relief Association (GLRA)- Senegal
19TanzaniaNGO/People’s OrganizationTanzania Leprosy Association (TLA) 
20UgandaNGOUganda National Alliance against Leprosy (UNALEP)German Leprosy and Tuberculosis Relief Association (GLRA)- Uganda
21PortugalGovernmental organizationCentro de Medicina de Reabilitação da Região Centro – Rovisco Pais  
22UKNGOThe Leprosy Mission International (TLMI)