Poster for World Leprosy Day showing hand

World Leprosy Day 2024

World Leprosy Day is celebrated on the last Sunday of January. In India it is observed on 30 January, the anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s death.

This year’s theme is “Beat Leprosy”, with the dual objectives of eradicating the stigma associated with leprosy and promoting the dignity of those afflicted by the disease.

Leprosy is regarded as a Neglected Tropical Disease (NCD) and still occurs in over 120 countries with over 120 000 new cases reported annually. This is despite it no longer being classified as a global public health emergency, defined as a prevalence of less than 1 per 10 000 population. (WHO, 2024)

In our collection, we have various works on both the disease and the causative organism “Mycobacterium leprae”.

Betty Martin’s “Miracle at Carville “reminds us that leprosy was never a solely tropical disease (Martin, 1952), and provides a narrative of the colony at Carville, near New Orelans.

Tony Gould’s “Don’t fence me in : leprosy in modern times” (Gould, 2005) provides a narrative of the social history of leprosy and its treatment from colonial times to the turn of the Millennium.

Eric Silla’s “People are not the same : leprosy and identity in twentieth century Mali” ( Silla, 1998) gives an account of the evolution of attitudes and treatment of leprosy patients in Mali from colonial to post-colonial times.

Please take a look at our display in the Reading Room which includes these and many other works


Gould, Tony. Don’t fence me in : leprosy in modern times. – London : Bloomsbury, 2005     JD.D  MAIN COLLECTION

Martin, Betty. Miracle at Carville. London : John Lehmann, 1952  JD.AI STACK COLLECTION

Silla, Eric. People are not the same : leprosy and identity in twentieth-century Mali. – Portsmouth, MH : Heinemann, 1998    JD.S.141  STACK COLLECTION

World Health Organization World Leprosy Day, 2024 [online resource] (accessed 30 January 2024)

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