Welcome to the Leprosy Bulletin, a new version of the newsletter that I have been publishing since 2003. The new title and design are meant to signal that leprosy and problems associated with it are contemporary issues that require attention now. Along with continuing to share my views and reports on my activities, and I will also be seeking contributions from experts, officials, activists, and persons affected by leprosy.
I hope that the Leprosy Bulletin will facilitate timely exchange of information and network building. For easy access and sharing, all of the content will be made available online.
With countries around the world in the grip of the coronavirus pandemic, it is a major challenge to keep leprosy programs functioning effectively. Governments can help by having clear policies regarding how comprehensive leprosy services are to be provided within their country’s mainstream healthcare system.
At the same time that services are in jeopardy, persistent stigma and discrimination render persons affected by leprosy especially vulnerable. Because they know the issues that they face better than anyone else, strengthening their organizations should be a priority. I hope that national governments will coordinate with the reappointed UN Special Rapporteur and quickly find ways to offer support.
I am determined to spend the rest of my life continuing to fight against leprosy and the stigma and discrimination associated with it. I hope that you will fight with me so that together we can realize a leprosy-free world.
WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy Elimination