CII, SILF signs MoU to end stigma over leprosy in India
As 60 per cent of the global total of new leprosy cases come from India, Sasakawa India Leprosy Foundation (S-ILF) on Thursday announced that it has joined hands with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) to further its efforts to eradicate the social stigma faced by people affected by leprosy and their families.
The MoU was signed during an event organised by S-ILF on Anti Leprosy Day in the presence of Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Harsh Vardhan and Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog.
On this occasion, S-ILF shared details of the outcomes of its livelihood and education programme in India which has achieved meaningful results for both persons affected by leprosy and their children.
As a result of S-ILF's continuous efforts in providing assistance to the socially discriminated population, 2,230 people with leprosy and their families have found livelihood of their preference.
Speaking at an event here, Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of The Nippon Foundation, said that his organisation, Sasakawa India Leprosy Foundation, is working hard to meet the government's target of making India leprosy-free by 2030.
"S-ILF is doing great work with these patients and I, myself, today volunteer to work with these patients to better their health and help remove the stigma and discrimination that revolves around the disease and the patients," said Harsh Vardhan.
"I have already written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the abolishment of more than 100 discriminatory laws and I assure the patients and the foundation that these laws will be completely eradicated in the very near future," the minister added.
According to the foundation, the top states which have benefited from this intervention are Madhya Pradesh and Bihar where the numbers of assisted beneficiaries are 340 and 270, respectively.
Also, as part of enabling lives of dignity and social acceptance, S-ILF has successfully implemented and rolled-out its education programme for the children of persons affected by leprosy.
This has so far helped benefit 15,070 plus children across 15 states. As far as job preferences are concerned, retail, livestock, and farming are the top three professions of choice of persons cured by leprosy in India.
In the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, 37.5 per cent of the leprosy cured patients took farming as their most preferred occupation as they had access to land donated years ago by some trust.
In Chhattisgarh, 26 per cent preferred livestock as their most preferred profession.
"CII, in partnership with S-ILF, will drive proactive initiatives towards awareness, advocacy, and economic integration of the leprosy affected community," said Tarun Das, Chairman, S-ILF.
"CII will also engage and advocate for industry action towards the upliftment of the leprosy affected community through Corporate Social Responsibility and other social projects," Das added.
While the rest of the world observed World Leprosy Day on January 27, this time India is observing it on January 30, Mahatma Gandhi's birth anniversary.IANS