Preserve History

We support initiatives that serve as models for preserving the history of leprosy, so that the memories and accounts of those who have experienced the disease can be passed on to future generations as lessons for humanity. We are also involved in human resource development and networking for those involved in this work.

With the downsizing, conversion and closure of leprosy hospitals, sanatoriums and isolation facilities around the world, the records and memories of those who lived and worked there are gradually being lost. The history of leprosy is multifaceted. It is not only the story of patients and their families, and of the medical and health professionals who devoted themselves to research, treatment and care, but also of how society has dealt with the disease.

Sasakawa Health Foundation supports initiatives to pass on the lessons of leprosy to future generations. To date, we have supported history preservation in 14 countries, including the Philippines, where the Culion Leprosy Archives has been inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World Heritage List for Asia and the Pacific. We have also promoted networking among stakeholders, for example by organizing five international workshops and symposiums on leprosy history and heritage that we hosted in Japan between 2012 and 2017. In addition, we created and operate a website on the history of leprosy (a joint project with the International Leprosy Association) and have been contracted by Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare to operate the National Hansen’s Disease Museum and other facilities from 2020.