Nippon Foundation

Calls for Reform, Research and Reorganisation in Leprosy Healthcare

Rachna Kumari of Munger in Eastern India’s Bihar state is not yet 30. But she's already been married at 18, abandoned by her husband after she was diagnosed with leprosy and become an award-winning advocate of the disease. She has traversed a long road. And this week she undertook another step in her journey to fly to Manila, Philippines, as a delegate at the 20th International Leprosy Congress (ILC).

‘Conference Emphasises Need for Partnerships to Create a World Without Leprosy’

Forty years ago, Yohei Sasakawa saw his father moved to tears after meeting and witnessing the suffering of people affected by leprosy – also known as Hansen’s disease. Not only did the patients have a physical illness, but they also suffered from social exclusion and discrimination. It made the young Sasakawa vow to work for the elimination of leprosy from the world – just as his father had been doing.

Nothing For Us, Without Us – Hansen’s Disease-Affected Tell International Gathering

Stronger government action to fight stigma and discrimination, more government funding for health and non-health support programmes, and a larger role for people’s organisations in developing policy towards Hansen's disease treatment and eradication are still needed for eliminating the disease.

The Emergence of a Global Voice for Hansen’s Disease Affected Persons

The Global Forum of People’s Organisations on Hansen’s Disease, which was attended by members of people’s organisations from 23 different countries, wrapped up in Manila, Philippines, today Sept. 10 after four days of discussion and deliberation. The main outcome was a set of recommendations, which included participants stating that those affected by the disease should have more inclusive roles in the global campaign against leprosy.


Awareness Should be the Priority in Public Health Efforts against Leprosy

Increasing awareness of the continuing existence of Hansen’s Disease (leprosy) is critical to sustaining effective public health efforts against the disease, eliminating the social stigma associated with it, and halting its transmission.

Litigation, a Mechanism to Ensure Justice and End Stigma for Hansen’s Disease

Professor Ai Kurosaka remembers the day she first interacted with a person affected by Hansen’s disease. It was 2003 and Kurosaka, then a graduate student of sociology at the Saitama University in Japan, had been assigned to interview ex-patients and their family members to document what kind of discrimination they faced. It was a very difficult task because nobody wanted to speak or identify themselves.

The Business of Social Enterprise

Organisations supporting people affected by Hansen’s disease (leprosy) have social rather than capitalist aims, but they need to take a business-minded approach to their work if they wish to be sustainable, experts at a global conference in Manila, Philippines said.

Global Network Key to Strengthening Leprosy Organisations

Organisations of people affected by Hansen’s Disease or leprosy agree that a global network of volunteer groups is key to eradicating the disease, but concrete steps need to be taken to move the idea from an often-discussed concept to a reality.

First Global Forum of Leprosy-Affected People’s Organisations Kicks off in Manila

Being part of a platform where leprosy-affected people from all over the world can freely interact, exchange and share opinions, ideas, experiences and strategies was always something Tasfaye Tadesse dreamt of.

A Global Forum to Encourage Dialogue and Share Solutions

Professor Takahiro Nanri is the executive director of the Sasakawa Health Foundation, co-organiser of the Global Forum of People’s Organisations on Hansen’s Disease, which will take place from Sept. 7 to 10 in the Philippines.

Prejudice and Discrimination, the Uncured Ills of Leprosy

“The ambulance team refused to take my sick friend to the hospital because he had had Hanseniasis years before," said Yohei Sasakawa, president of the Nippon Foundation, at one of the meetings held during his Jul. 1-10 visit to Brazil.

A Lifelong Battle Against the “Disease of Silence”

Yohei Sasakawa has dedicated half of his 80 years of life to combating the "disease of silence" and is still fighting the battle, as president of the Nippon Foundation and World Health Organisation (WHO) goodwill ambassador for elimination of leprosy, formally known as Hansen's Disease.

Japan Boosts Complex Fight to Eliminate Leprosy in Brazil

When cases of Hansen's disease, better known as leprosy, increase in Brazil, it is not due to a lack of medical assistance but to the growing efficacy of the health system in detecting infections, contrary to the situation in other countries.

Q&A: 607 Island Atolls Means it’s Hard to Distribute Leprosy Healthcare to All Micronesians

During his 22-year career in the health sector, Marcus Samo has seen the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) suffer from an increased burden of disease while at the same time the resources to address them have either remained the same or decreased.

Missing Data & Inefficient Drug Distribution Tops List of Micronesia’s Leprosy Challenges

It’s a good day for Dexter, a 25-year-old fisherman from Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia. He’s just been told that he is cured of leprosy.

As Marshall Islands Integrates Healthcare Services, Experts Offer a Word of Caution

In Jack Niedenthal’s office in Majuro, there is an ominous reminder of the dark history of the Marshall Islands—once the site for dozens of nuclear tests conducted by the United States between 1946 and 1962. But it also provides a strong message about the future of island nation.

Greater Skills Equals Greater Ability to Combat Leprosy

It’s a Friday morning and Dr. Ken Jetton, the only doctor who treats leprosy in Majuro, the capital of the Marshall Islands, is seeing a patient recently cured of the disease.

Increasing Leprosy Cases in Micronesia Points to Better Detection and Awareness

Elizabeth Keller is one of the most senior health officials in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). She is the current acting chief of Public Health and also the head of the leprosy programme in the island nation’s capital of Pohnpei.

Financial Hurdles to Eliminating Leprosy in Micronesia

Mayleen Ekiek has been working with the Department of Health in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) for 12 years now. She is the head of the National Leprosy Programme in the Pacific island nation, which still remains one of three, along with the Marshall Islands and Kiribati, that is yet to eliminate leprosy.

“Don’t Tell My Husband I Have Leprosy”: Social Stigma Silences Marshall Islands’ Women

Meretha Pierson has been a nurse for the past seven years, working in the government-run leprosy clinic in Majuro, the capital of the Marshall Islands. Her patients come in all ages, from different economic backgrounds and different professions. But, aside from their diagnosis, they all have something else in common: everyone wants to keep their illness a secret.

Q&A: Why Treating Leprosy as a Special Disease Violates the Rights of the Person Affected by It

His multiple awards and degrees aside, Dr. Arturo Cunanan is known as a people’s doctor; one who has profound belief in the human rights of every person affected by Hansen’s disease, commonly known as leprosy.

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