21 February 2023 · Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy

World Leprosy Day 2023: Events Around the World

Every year, on the last Sunday of January, World Leprosy Day is observed globally to raise public awareness about leprosy, which is also known as Hansen’s disease. People and organizations affected by leprosy and other partners in the leprosy community organize events to educate the public about the disease. Let’s take a look at how the leprosy community celebrated World Leprosy Day in 2023:

The International Symposium at the Vatican on Hansen’s Disease was a two-day event co-hosted by several organizations, including the French Raoul Follereau Foundation and the Sasakawa Leprosy (Hansen’s Disease) Initiative. It aimed to identify strategies for achieving the goal of “zero leprosy” and eliminating stigma and discrimination against those affected by the disease. The symposium also marked the launch of the Global Appeal 2023 to End Stigma and Discrimination against Persons Affected by Leprosy, which was endorsed by the event’s organizers and participants, and read out by Miss World Brazil 2022, Leticia Frota. The event brought together health and human rights experts, NGOs, religious organizations, and individuals affected by Hansen’s disease and other neglected tropical diseases to discuss ways to promote the health and human rights of those affected by these diseases and to build a society in which no one is left behind.

GPZL Secretariat Director Speaks at the Hansen’s disease seminar

Bill Gallo, GPZL Secretariat Director, participated in a panel at the Hansen’s disease seminar, “From evidence to practice,” in Brasilia, Brazil. The event was held on 25-26 January by Brazil’s Ministry of Health to commemorate World Hansen’s Disease Day. During the panel, Mr. Gallo discussed the significance of partnerships in efforts to eliminate leprosy. 

The Leprosy Mission Nepal observes World Leprosy Day 

To honor World Leprosy Day and reiterate their commitment to ending leprosy, the Leprosy Mission (TLM) Nepal organized a Walkathon from Lele to Anandaban Leprosy Hospital on 27 January. The event was attended by dignitaries at the local, provincial, and national levels, as well as students. 

On 29 January, TLM Nepal released a video partnering with People’s Organizations on Rising above the disease and understanding how Leprosy has shaped the life of many. 

Proclamation Signing: 2023 Leprosy Awareness Month and World Leprosy Day in Guam

Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS), Bureau of Communicable Disease Control (BCDC), Tuberculosis (TB)/Hansen’s disease (HD) Control Program organized a Proclamation Signing by the Honorable Lourdes “Lou” Aflague Leon Guerrero, the ninth Governor of Guam, and The Honorable Joshua “Josh” Franquez Tenorio, the 10th elected Lieutenant Governor of Guam on 27 January. GPZL Secretariat Director, Bill Gallo, participated at the event and spoke about GPZL’s country partnerships and the importance of establishing partnerships at the national level. “We see good results from the work we help facilitate at the country level. We are in the final stages of developing a self-guided model/tool that can be run by the countries.” 

All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Raipur observes Anti-Leprosy Day 2023 

The Pharmacology Department at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Raipur observed Anti-Leprosy Day 2023 with the theme, “Diagnose and Treat rationally to end suffering from drug and reactions, resistance in leprosy.” The event aimed to raise awareness about leprosy and highlighted key messages such as “Manage lepra reactions rationally”, “Ensure the availability of drugs for reaction management”, and “Report drug-related reaction as targeted vigilance of MDT drugs adverse drug reaction”. The event was organized in collaboration with the Indian Association of Leprologist (IAL), and it emphasized the importance of rational diagnosis, treatment, and reaction management to prevent the spread of leprosy and improve the lives of those affected by the disease.

The 2023 World Leprosy Day Symposium in Abuja, Nigeria 

The National TB and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP), with the support of The Leprosy Mission Nigeria, and other partners hosted a symposium to mark the 2023 World Leprosy Day in Abuja themed “The Multi-Dimensional Impact of Leprosy on its Sufferers: The need to Act Now.” The symposium brought together Leprosy Control experts and stakeholders to share successes, challenges, and experiences, and chart a way forward for the elimination of leprosy in Nigeria. The event provided a valuable avenue for discussion and collaboration, with participants sharing insights and best practices from their respective fields.