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A Disease as Old as Time – Eliminated but Not Eradicated

MANILA, Mar 5 2019 (IPS) - As the Executive Director of Sasakawa Memorial Health Foundation (SMHF), Takahiro Nanri has been working on the issue of leprosy since 2014. Over the past few years, he has traveled across the world visiting the large number of leprosy projects that SMHF has been supporting and meeting dozens of organisations led by leprosy-affected people.
In the past few decades the global fight against leprosy intensified which brought down the number of active cases drastically. As a result, leprosy is now officially eliminated in most countries, but its is still not completely eradicated. So, the word is now at ‘last mile’ to a leprosy-free world which is often described as the hardest part of the journey.

The reasons are many: hidden cases that are unreported and untreated and remain at risk of transmitting to others, insufficient budget allocated by the governments as they feel leprosy no longer needs to be a priority, lack of coordination among organisations working on leprosy and so on.

In this video, Nanri shares his views on how can this last mile journey can be overcome.
There is an urgent need for a coordinated effort to acknowledge that leprosy is still a reality, he says, before promising that SMHF and its parent organisation the Nippon Foundation, are ready to play the role of catalyst to this new, heightened level of co-ordination.

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