WORLD Leprosy Day 2024 takes place on Sunday 28th January. 100-year-old charity Lepra is inviting us to ‘Shine a Light on Leprosy’ to highlight that the assumed forgotten disease still exists but is curable, and to call for an end to prejudice and discrimination.
Leprosy is an infectious bacterial disease that, if not diagnosed and treated early enough, can cause nerve damage, blindness, and permanent disability. More than 600 people worldwide are diagnosed with leprosy each day and over 50 of these are children. Due to fear and lack of knowledge, there are over 3 million people across the world living with undiagnosed leprosy and every day the disease causes more damage to their health, livelihood, and future. However, all this suffering is needless as Leprosy is curable. With early detection and the right treatment, people affected by Leprosy can continue to lead a healthy life without complications.
Celebrating its centenary in 2024, Lepra’s 100 years of research and innovation have helped to find new treatments to break the cycle of physical, social, economic, and psychological harm associated with leprosy.
People affected by leprosy suffer a loss of sensation which can lead to ulcers forming on the feet that if left untreated can become infected and even require amputation. A current study by Lepra explores the effectiveness of using digital technology to increase the accuracy of foot measurement in producing customised protective footwear. Pressure points are identified enabling the footwear design to offer greater protection against ulcers forming and aid healing of existing ulcers. The benefits of protective footwear go way beyond just physical, they enable adults to return to work and children to continue their education, helping to prevent prejudice and discrimination.
The hope is that new technological approaches such as this, will not only improve rates of recovery from injury but will actually help prevent injuries and ulcers from developing in the first instance. For more information on the study, see here.
To shine a light on leprosy, Lepra is asking supporters to change their social media profile on World Leprosy Day to a downloadable image from: World Leprosy Day 2024 (lepra.org.uk)
For more information, please visit: www.lepra.org.uk.