With participants in the first-ever national conference of people affected by leprosy in Bangladesh, who gathered in Dhaka from around the Country.
On December 12, I participated in the country’s first ever conference of persons affected by leprosy, who traveled long distances from all over Bangladesh to the capital.
I told the participants I was very happy to see their faces and meet them for the first time. “You know the disease better than doctors. Your government is working to eliminate leprosy by 2030. And we are here to learn how we can help your government fight leprosy.”
I shared my experiences over the last 40 years, during which I have devoted myself to the struggle to eliminate leprosy and its associated stigma and discrimination from the world, visiting 120 countries on this mission.
“No matter which country I visited, the plight of those affected by leprosy is the same,” I told them.
I said that the Bangladeshi “government has already announced the Zero Leprosy Initiative that will help eliminate the discrimination you have been facing,” assuring them of the two foundations’ continuing support for Bangladesh’s initiative to achieve zero leprosy by 2030.
During my stay in Dhaka, I also appeared on television together with Health Minister Maleque to speak directly to the people of Bangladesh. I stressed that there is an effective cure for leprosy, it is available for free, and that early diagnosis and prompt treatment can prevent physical impairment.
In the early stage of the disease, I explained, there are hardly any noticeable symptoms except for painless, discolored skin patches, and this is one of the reasons behind delayed diagnosis. I urged viewers not to overlook these patches and check out their family members at home.
Yes, people in Bangladesh do love taking photos! Speaking with participants in the conference of persons affected by leprosy Appearing on a live television show on Channel 1 from 5 p.m. on December 11, 2019 I urged viewers to always check their family members for discolored skin patches, which are an early sign of leprosy.