Global Campaign for Leprosy Elimination

Leprosy and Challenges of Our Time


Toward a Leprosy-free World Message from WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy Elimination

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
has achieved

122 countries→1 country 16 million people cured

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.

Leprosy and Discrimination

Leprosy elimination
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.

  • March 2014. Hanae, aged 22, set foot in actual sites of leprosy, as a reporter. “I know almost nothing about leprosy” were her initial words. Unequipped with knowledge, she continually experienced surprise, bewilderment and worry while in the field. She continued her coverage repeatedly for two and a half years, coming face to face with people affected by leprosy wit...

  • When reading the Old Testament, one finds references to leprosy in which people affected by leprosy are called “unclean people” (Levi 13: 45~46). They were not treated as “human beings” and were unconditionally discriminated against throughout the ages and in all countries. In order never to repeat this tragic history, a group of people affected by leprosy visited t...


WHO Ambassador's

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.