Tuesday, February 2, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 29 JAN 2010 ( VIS ) - The Message for the fifty-seventh World Day of Leprosy was published today. It bears the signature of Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Healthcare Ministry. The Day itself is due to be celebrated on Sunday 31 January.

According to the most recent data from the World Health Organisation (WHO), "in 2009, 210,000 new cases of the disease were recorded. ... The countries most affected are in Asia, South America and Africa . India has the greatest number of sufferers, followed by Brazil ".

Archbishop Zimowski makes a call "to the international community and to the authorities of each individual State, inviting them to develop and reinforce the strategies necessary to combat leprosy, making them more effective and far-reaching especially in places where the number of new cases remains high. This", he continues, "must be done without overlooking educational and awareness-raising campaigns capable of helping those affected, and their families, to emerge from isolation and obtain the necessary treatment".

At the end of his message, the president of the Pontifical Council for Healthcare Ministry expresses his thanks to the WHO, and to religious, missionaries, non-governmental associations and organisations, and many volunteers for their commitment "to eradicate this and other 'forgotten' diseases".
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