Many still use those names When a person falls ill nothing is more important

Many still use those names when a person falls ill

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Many still use those names. When a person falls ill, nothing is more important than the support of loved ones. But often when the disease is leprosy, he or she is abandoned, even by family. Why? Because the stigma of leprosy is such that family members fear being tainted by it. They fear being alienated from society. Around the world, there are people who have lost out on education, marriage and employment opportunities because they had a loved one with leprosy. Thanks to multidrug therapy, 16 million people have been cured of leprosy worldwide. However, if we include family members, perhaps as many as 100 million people continue to face severe discrimination in their daily lives. We will be hearing examples of this when people affected by leprosy take the podium in the third session. What can be done to remove the deep-rooted social prejudice that causes this discrimination? I believe there needs to be a mass movement of people, one that involves international organizations, governments, NGOs, health professionals, the media and people affected by leprosy themselves. Within this movement, three approaches are particularly important. One is to appeal to a country’s leaders to end discrimination. We must request that they check whether they have overlooked discriminatory elements in laws or policies, and to reform them where they exist.
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