Saturday, July 13, 2024

2nd Global Forum of People’s Organizations on Leprosy organized

The 2nd Global Forum of People’s Organizations on Leprosy, also known as Hansen’s Disease, was organized recently in Hyderabad, India. Around100 representatives of 20 People’s Organizations from 21 countries took part. The theme of the forum was “Strengthening and maximizing the roles and capacities of People’s Organizations to promote the dignity of persons affected by Hansen’s disease. ”Miss World Brazil, MsLetícia Cezar da Frota and Miss Supranational India, Ms Pragnya Ayyagari attended the three days event. WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy Elimination, Mr Yohei Sasakawa, who together with The Nippon Foundation and Sasakawa Health Foundation has made up the strategic alliance known as the Sasakawa Leprosy (Hansen’s Disease) Initiative, also attended the event.

The three days residential event witnessed the sessions on capacity building of People’s Organizations, inclusion, and partnerships. The forum was organized by Sasakawa Leprosy (Hansen’s Disease) Initiative as part of its “Don’t Forget Leprosy” campaign launched during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking at the conclusive meeting on the last day of the forum, Mr Yohei Sasakawa, WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy Elimination said: “Until recently, people affected by leprosy have had difficulty asserting their rights. It was a deeply moving
experience for me to see representatives of People’s Organizations from around the world come together to hold the 2 nd Global Forum. They are united and raising voice together. I hope that all participants will go back to their countries, tell this to their peers, and unite even more. This will lead to the improvement of the living condition of all people affected by leprosy. It is truly wonderful to see such a spontaneous movement coming from among them.”

Endorsing his call for the change, Ms Supranational India for 2023, Ms Pragnya Ayyagari, who hails from the host city of Hyderabad said that “I didn’t know about Leprosy until I attended this event. I think this issue should be taken to the children and youth. Their opinions about the disease will definitely change. I am taking back a lot of good learnings from this event, which will remain with me all through the life.”

Ms Maya Ranavare, President of Association of People Affected by Leprosy (APAL) spoke on behalf of persons affected by Leprosy in India. She spoke about the changing scenario in the world due to the awareness around the disease by organizations like Sasakawa Health Foundation. She further said: “The resolution of this forum will be presented before the 21 st International Leprosy conference tomorrow by me. I am the voice of many who have faced stigma and discrimination. Thankfully, the situation is improving now.” Also speaking at the concluding sessions, Mr Kofi Nyarko from IDEA Ghana and Mr Faustino Pinto from MORHAM, Brazil, echoed the voices of Ms Maya Ranavare.

Speaking for the cause, Ms World Brazil 2022, MsLetícia Cezar da Frota said: “I am very motivated from this event. After my return to Brazil, I will dedicate my time for persons affected by Leprosy. Together with Miss Supranational India, I want to raise awareness about Leprosy across the world.”

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