With World Leprosy Day approaching, the Leprosy Bulletin asked two people involved in “Don’t forget leprosy” activities for three wishes related to how they would like the world to change for persons affected by leprosy. Maksuda Khatun, who successfully makes a living raising chickens after being diagnosed with leprosy at age 18, shared her wishes from Bangladesh. Dr. Michael Chen, a leader of HANDA and an organizer of the Asia Youth Forum, offered his wishes from China.

Maksuda Khatun
Sirajganj District Leprosy and Disability Federation
Sirajganj, Bangladesh

  1. A stigma-free society that is committed to combating discrimination and supporting the mental health and well-being of all people, including persons affected by leprosy.
  2. A society where persons affected by leprosy can participate in all social and cultural activities without fear of discrimination and women have equal opportunity in every sector.
  3. Easy access to government facilities that support improved living conditions for persons affected by leprosy.

Dr. Michael Chen
Secretary General,
HANDA Rehabilitation & Welfare Association

  1. A strong network of persons affected by leprosy, their families, community members, and people’s organizations who work in solidarity to create a society where people are assured a dignified life in an equitable and discrimination-free environment and where elderly persons affected by leprosy are given sufficient social attention and quality services in their later years of life.
  2. Widespread awareness that the history of leprosy and the life experiences of persons affected by leprosy can be a precious textbook for policy makers and the public to learn from when coping with unknown contagious diseases.
  3. As called for in the Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action, ensure that persons affected by leprosy have access to information, services, and treatment. All people should have protection and the means to stay healthy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.