Nurses Call for End to Leprosy Discrimination
TOKYO, Jan. 27, 2015 / PRNewswire — The Nippon Foundation and the International Council of Nurses jointly released Global Appeal 2015 in Tokyo on Jan. 27, calling for an end to the discrimination that people affected by leprosy continue to face in many parts of the world. It is the first time that the annual Global Appeal, now in its tenth year, has been launched from Japan.
As the world’s largest group of health professionals, nurses are committed to alleviating physical and mental suffering of all people, without prejudice, and recognize the importance of educating the public about disease – especially a misunderstood disease such as leprosy.
“Our message is clear: leprosy can be cured. Drugs kill the bacteria. Early diagnosis and treatment prevent disability. There is no reason to isolate anyone with the disease,” they stated in the appeal.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who attended the launching ceremony, said, touching upon the history of the isolation policy which fostered discrimination, “We will make efforts to help people still in sanatoriums live comfortably and peacefully and resolve discrimination and prejudice against leprosy.”
Each year, over 200,000 new cases of leprosy are diagnosed around the world. Although the disease is completely curable, people with leprosy and even members of their families continue to face discrimination, affecting their prospects for education, employment, marriage and full participation in society.
To draw attention to this issue, the Global Appeal was initiated in 2006 by Yohei Sasakawa, chairman of The Nippon Foundation and also WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy Elimination and Japanese Government Goodwill Ambassador for the Human Rights of People Affected by Leprosy.
To date, the appeal has been endorsed by influential individuals and organizations including Nobel Peace Prize winners, faith leaders, the World Medical Association, the International Bar Association and now the nursing profession, who underscored the key message of Global Appeal 2015 with the words: “We support the right of people affected by leprosy to live in dignity as full members of the community, enjoying equal access to all their human rights.”
The Nippon Foundation is a committed partner in the fight against leprosy, conveying the message that leprosy is curable and treatment is free, and working toward the goal of a world without leprosy and the discrimination it causes.
The Nippon Foundation