World Leprosy Day: What is Leprosy? Theme, History, and Significance

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World Leprosy Day 2024

Leprosy also known as Hansen’s disease is a chronic infectious disease that affects the skin, eyes, nerves, and nasal mucosa. It is caused by a slow-growing bacteria i.e. Mycobacterium leprae. World Leprosy Day is celebrated to spread awareness about leprosy and educate people about the treatment of leprosy. Leprosy is a curable disease and it takes around 6-12 months of multi-drug therapy for the treatment of Leprosy. Stay tuned and read this article to get complete details about World Leprosy Day 2024, its theme, significance and all about the disease!

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What is Leprosy?

Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium Leprae. It generally affects the skin and peripheral nerves. If this disease is left undiagnosed and untreated then it may lead to progressive permanent damage. 

Leprosy can be transmitted from an infected person’s nasal and mouth droplets. Some common symptoms of Leprosy are skin blisters, pain in the joint, skin lesions, rashes, redness, loss of sensation of touch, weight loss, and nerve injury.

Leprosy can be treated with the help of multi-drug therapy with antibiotics and some precautions need to be taken to cure the infection. 

Also Read: Paramedical Courses List

When is World Leprosy Day Celebrated?

World Leprosy Day is an annual event celebrated on the fourth Sunday of January. This year, the World Leprosy Day will be on 28 January 2024. This day is chosen to pay tribute to the Father of the Nation ‘Mahatma Gandhi’ who served the affected persons and died at the end of January 1948. French Humanitarian, Raoul Follereau, chose the last Sunday of January (World Leprosy Day). 

world leprosy day
Source: Freepik

Also Read: Prevention of Blindness Week

What is the Theme of International Leprosy Day 2024?

The theme of World Leprosy Day 2024 is “Beat Leprosy”. This theme focuses on the importance of eradicating the stigma affiliated with Leprosy and its cure and promoting the dignity of the infected people.

This theme is just like a reminder that emphasizes the fact that there is a high need to address the social as well as psychological aspects of leprosy together with medical treatment. It is important to look at every aspect to eradicate the disease from the roots. 

NOTE: In India, National Leprosy Day is celebrated on 30 January. This day coincides with the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi who dedicatedly worked for the leprosy-affected people and aimed to eradicate leprosy. 

Also Read: International Day of Acceptance

Previous Year Theme of World Leprosy Day

Mentioned below are the year-by-year theme of WLD:

2023“Act Now: End Leprosy”
2022“United for Dignity” 
2021“Beat Leprosy, End Stigma and Advocate for Mental Well-Being”
2020“Ending discrimination, stigma and prejudice, is fundamental to ending leprosy”

Hashtags for World Leprosy Day 2024

As individuals, we can also play an important role in spreading awareness about Leprosy by posting crucial facts and information about Leprosy, its symptoms, and treatment. We can donate some parts to leprosy-affected people. Apart from this, use hashtags such as 






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History of World Leprosy Day 2024

WLD was established by French philanthropist Raol Follereau in 1954. The main motive behind this day is to raise awareness about the disease and educate the masses about this ancient disease and its cure.

Many people are unaware of the disease due to a lack of knowledge and restricted medical issues. So, the main purpose is to provide medical assistance to people reeducate them about leprosy and clear all the misconceptions surrounding the disease. 

Source: The Leprosy Mission International


Many people think that leprosy does not exist anymore. But, as per statistics, around 2,00,000 people are diagnosed with leprosy and millions of people are living with delayed leprosy treatment. Therefore, WLD is celebrated every year on the fourth Sunday of January to spread awareness and educate people about leprosy, and tackle the stigma around leprosy. 

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Why is World Leprosy Day celebrated?

WLD is celebrated to spread awareness about the disease and educate people about the symptoms and treatment of leprosy. This day also focuses on eradicating the myths around leprosy and clear misconceptions among the people.

What is the theme for World Leprosy Day 2024?

Leprosy also known as Hansen’s disease is caused by Mycobacterium leprae which mainly causes skin lesions and nerve damage. The theme of World Leprosy Day 2024 is “Beat Leprosy.”

Who started World Leprosy Day?

World Leprosy Day is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of January. It was started by a French philanthropist Raoul Follereau in 1954. This date is chosen because it coincides with the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi who worked for the leprosy-infected people. This year, the world will be celebrating the 71st International Leprosy Day.

This was all about the World Leprosy Day. For more such articles, make sure to check the trending events page of Leverage Edu.

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