Delhi: In a bid to support leprosy patients and their families across Delhi NCR, Rotary Club of Delhi South (RCDS), Lepra and Assets Care and Reconstruction Enterprise Ltd (ACRE) came together to launch an on grid solar power plant at the Mother Teresa Home for leprosy patient at Tahirpur, Delhi. Manoj Tiwari, Hon’ble Member of Parliament, inaugurated the plant and distributed tricycles to leprosy patients to improve their quality of life.
Leprosy is one of the oldest-known, chronic infectious diseases which can lead to deformity and disability, if not treated on time. There were 1,27,558 new cases of leprosy detected globally in 2020-21, out of which India accounted for approximately 54 per cent. Despite being completely curable, Leprosy remains one of the most misunderstood and underreported diseases, mainly because of lack of awareness about the disease, its treatment and management.
Rotary, along with its partners, uses a multi-pronged approach to raise awareness, dispel social stigma surrounding the disease, and improve medical care and quality of life for patients. Started in 2019, the Leprosy Control Project aims to uplift the lives of those suffering from leprosy and make India a leprosy-free nation.
Speaking at the occasion, Hon’ble Member of Parliament, Manoj Tiwari, said, “It is important that people are aware that leprosy is curable. Only with this knowledge will the ostracisation of patients end, allowing them to live a life of dignity and security. With the support of non-profits like Rotary and its partners, I am sure that the project will develop further and benefit leprosy patients, their families, and the greater society in the future. The work being done by the Rotary and its partners to raise awareness around leprosy will be instrumental to meet Government’s mission of eliminating Leprosy from India by 2027.”
Dr Sudarsan Mandal, Deputy Director General (Leprosy), Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, says, “Leprosy is still a public health problem in India as it contributes to around 54 per cent of the annual global new cases. Stigma and discrimination are the major causes of sufferings among leprosy patients. Although, Leprosy is curable and treatment is freely available, Leprosy affected people are still ostracised and face a lot of suffering due to lack of awareness among the common citizens. India being an endemic country for leprosy, is committed towards eradication. Leprosy is a bacterial disease and is fully curable with a combination of drugs called Multi Drug Therapy (MDT). The National Leprosy Eradication Program has strengthened its strategies towards eradication of this disease with newer interventions to end transmission cycle of leprosy by 2027. We are hopeful that the recently released National Strategic Plan & Roadmap (2023-27) will provide the guidance and blueprint to the States/UTs to move towards Leprosy free India.”
Deepak Kapur, Head of Rotary Club Alliance for Leprosy Control, said, “Since its inception, the Leprosy Control Project has been consistently working for improving lives of more than 1500 leprosy patients and their families in Delhi NCR. So far, we have trained more than 650 healthcare workers and conducted 63 physiotherapy camps across 30 leprosy colonies out of 40 in the State. The project takes a five-step approach to tackle leprosy: create awareness, training to capacitate healthcare workers, active case finding, treatment and palliative care of patients, and rehabilitation and reintegration into society in alleviating the burden of leprosy in India. We thank our partners, ACRE and LEPRA who have shown unconditional support the cause. Rotary will also soon be launching a one-of-its-kind comprehensive care facility at the Indira Gandhi Hospital which will provide rehabilitation and treatment to leprosy patients.”
Mohd Shariq Malik, Head, Corporate Social Responsibility, Assets Care and Reconstruction Enterprise Ltd (ACRE) said, “For ACRE, it is a matter of great pride to be associated with a noble cause like this and witness the impact the Leprosy Project has made in last three years. We share a common vision, value system, commitment to society and a common willingness to do better. Our long-standing partnership with Rotary Club of Delhi South and the LEPRA focuses on strengthening the existing healthcare infrastructure to diagnose, treat and rehabilitate leprosy patients.”
Other dignitaries present at the occasion were Dr Ritu Choudhary, State Leprosy Officer, Dr. KS Baghotia, Secretary Hind Kusht Nivaran Sangh, Rtn. Ashok Kantoor, Rotary District Governor, RD 3011 along with representatives from LEPRA and ACRE.