Global Campaign for Leprosy Eliimination

Leprosy and Challenges of Our Time ハンセン病の「いま」を知る 人類の抱える「差別」という病を克服するために



Leprosy Diagnosis and Treatment

Do you know about leprosy?

Today, there are very few people who know about the disease called leprosy, or Hansen’s disease. For centuries, leprosy was believed to be a punishment from God, or atonement for past evil deeds. Such misperceptions were a cause for discrimination.

Leprosy is Curable

Get the facts straight.
Leprosy is a curable disease.

Leprosy was very much misunderstood in the past. It was thought to be incurable, God’s punishment, and contagious. Therefore isolation was thought be the best way to avoid infection. However in the 1980’s, multidrug therapy (MDT) was found to be effective and with early diagnosis and treatment leprosy became curable without leaving any trace of disability or disfigurement.

Elimination to Date

Every country except Brazil, has achieved elimination

Leprosy elimination is defined by the WHO as reducing the prevalence to less than 1 case per 10,000 population. This clear numerical target made it possible to cure 16 million people and there is just one more country to go until every country in the world achieves elimination on the national level.

122 countries→1 country 16 million people cured

Leprosy and Discrimination

Leprosy elimination work must continue

Although leprosy has been eliminated in all the countries except Brazil, it is only an achievement of the numerical target and does not mean that leprosy has been eradicated.

In September 2010, a resolution to end discrimination against people affected by leprosy and their family members and the attached Principles and Guidelines was adopted unanimously at the United Nations Human Rights Council. IDEA (International Association for Integration, Dignity and Economic Advancement) and many other organizations around the world are working to end discrimination against people affected by leprosy.

The Documentary

Turning the Camera on Leprosy Today

We captured the reality that confronts the people affected by leprosy all over the world on camera. People who are isolating themselves from society in fear of discrimination; people recovered from leprosy who are helping to prevent the spread of the disease…
Each life is different, each life is unique.

  • Brazil is the only country in the world where leprosy has yet to be eliminated. In 2015, registered cases numbered 20,702, indicating that Brazil was nearing the goal. But a large problem stood in the way — “hidden” patients who were not reflected in this number. What is the real situation in the last country that has yet to achieve elimination? We turned our camer...

  • The people affected by leprosy in India have lost all that they had ever possessed. They live quietly together in the forgotten corners of society. Having lost family, a hometown, education and employment, they are left only with a life of begging. Mr. Yohei Sasakawa and The Nippon Foundation are working to create a world where they would no longer have to beg. Throug...


WHO Goodwill Ambassador’s Column

As WHO’s Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy Elimination, Yohei’s visits continue to touch the hearts of people affected by leprosy around the world. What he sees is leprosy as is today.