Sasakawa Leprosy (Hansen’s Disease) Initiative has been running a campaign called “Don’t Forget Leprosy” since August 2021 to send the message that leprosy must not be overlooked amid the COVID-19 pandemic. As a part of the campaign, the Initiative provided grants for surveys covering one or more of three themes: 1) the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on persons affected by leprosy and their family members; 2) discrimination against persons affected by leprosy; 3) the socio-economic situation of communities of persons affected by leprosy.
Between January and June 2022, 14 organizations from 10 countries conducted surveys. Based on their reports, the Initiative recognizes the following achievements:
- Participating organizations laid a foundation for the development of an evidence-based long-term plan to eliminate prejudice and discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members living in the general community.
- Participating organizations obtained important evidence that can be used to call for collaboration and support from relevant government entities and NGOs working in related fields.
- Participating organizations established foundational evidence for persuading others that persons affected by leprosy, who are marginalized and vulnerable even when all is normal, suffer acutely during times of crisis.
- Participating organizations contributed to raising awareness of leprosy among government officials and health care workers.
- Participating people’s organizations of persons affected by leprosy gained new experiences and knowledge.
Further details about three of the survey projects are shared at the links below and on pages 3-5 of the August 2022 (No. 110) issue of the Leprosy Bulletin.