Even in today’s modern society, there is little to no awareness about leprosy among people. People suffering from leprosy are still ostracised from mainstream society. Many a times, we see that people who are affected with leprosy are shunned from society or are discriminated against in there day-to-day lives. For this, it is important to remove the misconceptions in the minds of people and help change their viewpoint about this non-communicable disease.
There isn’t enough public awareness regarding leprosy. People suffering from leprosy are still treated as pariahs. Now, the ‘Sparsh’ campaign aim to teach children about how to treat people suffering from leprosy with respect and dignity, and why they must not discriminate or avoid social interaction with them.
Children studying in Zilla Parishad and civic-run schools will be educated about this disease. They will also be provided with guidance, and will be taught not to mistreat or misbehave with leprosy-affected patients. They will also take a pledge in relation with this.
While speaking to My Medical Mantra, Raju Jotkar, Maharashtra Health Services, Joint Director (Leprosy), stated, “January 30 is observed to mark Mahatma Gandhi’s death anniversary. This day is also observed as leprosy prevention day. The central and state government have are taking special measures to eradicate leprosy. But, to achieve this it is important to clear the misconceptions among people.”
“That’s why we have initiated this campaign. Through this campaign, we are teaching children to not discriminate against people suffering from leprosy. And take a pledge to never do so in their lifetime,” added Jotkar.
He further said, “Each year, 450 new cases of leprosy are registered in Mumbai, while Maharashtra, records around 15,000 new cases of leprosy every year. If this disease is detected and diagnosed on time, then the medical treatment can be started immediately. Due to which any further complications caused by the disease can be prevented.”