World Leprosy Day takes place on the last Sunday in January. In 2019 this will be 27th January and this year we are calling for governments and authorities to dedicate more resources to leprosy research to support this vastly under-funded area.

Across the globe, leprosy charities and partners join together to raise awareness of this disease that many people believe to be extinct, when in fact around 210,000 new cases are diagnosed each year, and we believe millions more people are living undiagnosed, leaving them at risk of disabilities.

How is the date decided?

The last Sunday in January was chosen by French humanitarian Raoul Follereau in 1953, as the third Sunday from Epiphany from the Catholic calendar. The Catholic Church then reads the story of the Gospel where Jesus meets and heals a person with leprosy.

Join us for an exclusive World Leprosy Day event!

To mark World Leprosy Day 2019, we are also hosting Voices for Change, an evening of contemporary choral music at St Stephen Walbrook church in London. This iconic venue is situated just a 1 minute walk from where BELRA, now Lepra, was founded in 1924!

Featuring the Cantata Dramatica Chorus, soloists and instrumentalists, this performance will bring to life "Treasures of  Byzantium" a selection of newly commissioned music from Irish composer Solfa Carlile and BAFTA Award-winning composer Nick Bicat.

Book your tickets now

Ways to get involved in World Leprosy Day

Take the pledge

Pledge your support to not use the term 'leper' or mention leprosy out of context. Sign our petition to help us put an end to the prejudice and discrimination that many people affected by leprosy continue to endure after they have been cured. Once you have signed the petition don't forget to share it with your friends and family to help raise awareness about this issue.

Sign the petition

Listen to our podcast

This World Leprosy Day we are launching our very own podcast: 'Leprosy Matters!'. Episode one features Lepra CEO Geoff Prescott and Lepra Ambassador Fiona Duby discussing the current state of leprosy programmes in developing countries along followed by our Marketing, Communication and Fundraising Assistant's top tips for running your first marathon!

Listen here

Watch 95 Voices

To coincide with Lepra's 95 anniversary we are launching a new video series called '95 Voices', this series will feature people that have interacted with Lepra over our 95 year history. The first episode features Lepra Society CEO Ashim Chowla, and his personal experience with leprosy.

Watch here

Get social

Help us spread the word by joining us on social media on World Leprosy Day.

All you have to do is print off our #BeatLeprosy banner, take a selfie with it and then post it out on your chosen social media channels using our #BeatLeprosy and #WorldLeprosyDay2019 hashtags.

Download the banner here

Alternatively if you are camera shy, we will be creating graphics you can use on social media along with a tweet to say you are supporting World Leprosy Day. Don't forget to use #WorldLeprosyDay2019 to join in!

Inform your friends

Leprosy has been forgotten by society - leaving the people affected ignored and isolated. By raising awareness around the world, we can tackle the prejudice and discrimination which often stops people coming forward for treatment, and raise funds to help beat the disease.

Why not use World Leprosy Day to tell your friends and family about us, and the people we help - you can find out about the lives we have changed here.  By simply passing on your knowledge and telling someone about us and our work, you’ll be making a big difference.

Socks and Sandals

Leprosy can cause permanent nerve damage in the feet of people affected by the disease. Many are unable to feel pain and can injury their feet without realising. Our custom protective-footwear enables people affected by leprosy to walk without fear of gaining an injury.

The footwear costs £3 to produce. Host a Socks and Sandals day, wear your funkiest socks and sandals combination and donate £3 so that a person affected by leprosy can regain their confidence and independence free from the threat of injury. Click here to find out more information.

What is leprosy?

Leprosy is an infectious disease of the skin and nerves which, if not diagnosed and treated quickly, can result in debilitating disabilities. The effects of leprosy are exacerbated by the negative stigma surrounding the disease.

In 2017 over 210,000 people were diagnosed and millions more go undiagnosed.

Today, it is not just the disease that is forgotten, but the people too.

Early detection prevents disabilities

The fact that children are still being diagnosed with leprosy shows that the disease is still being transmitted. Last year, in one of the areas we work, Bihar in India, over 17% of new leprosy cases were children.

At the moment, too many children have disability at diagnosis. Our aim is that all children will be treated and cured before disability occurs.

Find out more about the diagnosis of leprosy.

Watch Dr SN Pati diagnose the symptoms of leprosy and explain the importance of early detection.

You can find out more about leprosy here

Change a life this World Leprosy Day

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