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World Leprosy Day 2022

Three men in Mozambique stand with their bikes, smiling

When is World Leprosy Day 2022?

In 2022, World Leprosy Day is Sunday 30 January. World Leprosy Day always takes place on the last Sunday of January.

This date was chosen by French humanitarian, Raoul Follereau as a tribute to the life of Mahatma Gandhi, who did much work with persons affected by leprosy and died at the end of January in 1948.

What is World Leprosy Day?

World Leprosy Day takes place on the last Sunday of January each year. It is organised by organisations of people affected by leprosy and leprosy-focused NGOs, including The Leprosy Mission, and is an opportunity to lift up the voices of people affected by leprosy throughout the world.

What is the theme for World Leprosy Day 2022?

The theme for World Leprosy Day 2022 is ‘United for Dignity’. The campaign honours the lived experiences of individuals who have experienced leprosy by 1) sharing their empowering stories and 2) advocating for mental wellbeing and the right to a dignified life free from disease-related stigma.

The key messages are:

  1. Together we can lift up every voice and honour the experiences of people who have experienced leprosy.
  2. People who experience leprosy face mental wellbeing challenges due to stigma, discrimination, and isolation.
  3. People who experience leprosy have the right to a dignified life free from disease-related stigma and discrimination.

Why do we celebrate World Leprosy Day?

We celebrate World Leprosy Day to raise awareness of a disease that many people think does not exist anymore.

Each year there are 200,000 people diagnosed with leprosy and there are millions who are living with the damaging consequences of delayed leprosy treatment.

World Leprosy Day is an opportunity to celebrate the lives of those affected, raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of the disease, and tackle the stigma that too often surrounds leprosy. It is also an opportunity to raise money so that we can be the generation that ends leprosy transmission.

How is World Leprosy Day celebrated?

The day is marked in both countries with and without leprosy. In countries where leprosy is either non-existent or very rare, World Leprosy Day is marked by churches, NGOs, and leprosy champions who aim to raise awareness of the fact that leprosy still exists and it is still ruining lives.

In countries where leprosy still exists, communities and people affected by leprosy come together to raise awareness and host events that are aimed at reducing leprosy stigma and raising awareness of the disease. In many countries there is also good engagement from governments, who mark the day through ministers and events.

What can you share this World Leprosy Day?

If you want to raise awareness with us online this World Leprosy Day, here are some key facts and details that you can share:

  • Leprosy is curable with a combination of antibiotics known as Multi Drug Therapy (MDT). This treatment is available for free across the world. If leprosy is not treated, it can lead to serious complications.
  • Leprosy is at least 4,000 years old, making it one of the oldest diseases known to humanity. However, we believe we can be the generation that finally ends the transmission of leprosy – our target is zero transmission by 2035.
  • Leprosy still exists! Around 200,000 people are diagnosed with leprosy each year and many millions are living with leprosy-related disabilities, particularly across Asia, Africa, and South America.
  • It costs £24 to find and treat someone with leprosy. You can do that today at donate.leprosymission.org
Watch our quick guide to leprosy video

How you can help on World Leprosy Day 2022

Here’s three things you can do to support World Leprosy Day

  1. Be a voice for justice online: Use our key messages, leprosy facts, and the digital toolkit to raise awareness of World Leprosy Day and spread messages of hope. Be United for Dignity with us!
  2. Donate today: We believe we can end leprosy transmission by 2035, but only if we have the right resources. You can give today to help us defeat leprosy.
  3. Have hands of love, not hate: If you live in a community where leprosy is present, where you see persons affected by leprosy, or where you hear people talk about leprosy, you can decide to demonstrate love and kindness, rather than the fear and stigma that so often follows persons affected by leprosy.

If you would like to get involved in World Leprosy Day activities, find out how the day is being marked in TLM countries near you.

Getting involved online

You can access the digital toolkit for World Leprosy Day 2022 here.

If you want to join in the conversation online you can use

#United4Dignity

#WorldLeprosyDay

#LeaveNoOneBehind

#EndStigma

#ZeroDiscrimination

#MentalWellbeing

Make sure you tag The Leprosy Mission in anything you share!