Anti Leprosy Day : the fight against leprosy is not yet over

Anti Leprosy Day, also called as World Leprosy Day, is celebrated all over India on 30th of January to mark the Martyrdom Day of the father of our nation, Gandhiji, who showed concern to eradicate leprosy and to end the stigma and discrimination against leprosy. He set an example and displayed immense courage by nursing the wounds of Shri. Parchure Shastri, a person affected by leprosy at his ashram in Sevagram (Wardha, Maharashtra) in 1939, at the time when no medicine was available to cure the disease.


Since 1950, great strides have been made by several scientists, leprosy workers and policy makers in achieving complete cure with modern medicines and progressing towards controlling the disease in our country. The significant contributions made by many national and international NGOs including Government of India over the past 5 decades have transformed the dream of realizing ‘leprosy free India’ as a reality in near future, a vision which Gandhiji had cherished most to end the suffering of people affected by leprosy. Since 1983, the launch of National Leprosy Eradication Programme by the Government of India has made available the multi-drug treatment (MDT) free of cost to all people affected by leprosy at all health centres in the country.


ALERT-INDIA, a NGO based in Mumbai, dedicated to control leprosy in Maharashtra, observes this Anti leprosy week from 30th January to 5th February by organizing mass programmes for creating public awareness that can effectively changes the attitudes of people towards the disease and reduce the stigma. ALERT-INDIA’s teams reaches the people affected by leprosy particularly those living in slums and rural areas of Maharashtra. ALERT-INDIA strives to ensure that all persons affected by leprosy, wherever they live, have an equal opportunity to be diagnosed and treated by competent health workers, thereby enable them to lead a dignified life. Yet, the fight against leprosy is not yet over and every citizen of our country can be a part of this great effort to realize a leprosy free India, a dream of Gandhiji.




Leprosy resurgence: Min seeks Rs700-cr for 12th plan





Resurgence of leprosy in various States has left the Union Health Ministry worried. It has now sought funds to the tune of over Rs700 crore in the XIIth Five Year Plan, which is three times higher than that sought in the previous Plan, to upgrade human resource and infrastructure to tackle the disease.

Around 300 endemic districts in 16 States such as Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Odisha have been already identified for focused measures for complete elimination of leprosy, said sources in the Ministry.

This is for the first time since 2005 when the leprosy was declared eliminated that the Ministry has realised the growing threat from the bacillus bacterium, Mycobacterium leprae, causing leprosy.

Data speaks: As many as 1,27,200 fresh cases of leprosy were reported in 2011-12 against 126,800 cases in 2010-11.

Health Minister of State Sudip Bandyopadhyay recently said in Parliament that Uttar Pradesh topped the list with 24,627 cases, followed by Maharashtra with 17,892 cases and Bihar with 17,801. The reason for worry is not without reasons. Out of the 2.1 lakh cases in the world, 55 per cent of the total leprosy is from India.

Senior officials in the Health Ministry attribute  the higher number of cases to the Government’s short-sightedness. Soon after the disease reached  the elimination stage in 2005 (prevalence rate less than one per 10000 population) the over-confident Government integrated leprosy services under the National Leprosy Elimination Programme (NLEP) with the General Health Care system mainly under the National Rural Health Mission.
This led to delay in release of funds from the State NRHM to districts, diversion and shortage of trained staff to identify the disease as has been pointed out in the working group on the Health for the 12th Five year plan.

It notes that by March 2005 only 25 per cent of the erstwhile vertical staff  such as para-medical workers, physio-technician and health educator etc were retained with NLEP and rest of the staff was surrendered to the GHC to work as multi-purpose workers and supervisors.

To run the NLEP at block level, the medical officers are still dependent on the vertical components, which are gradually receding while the GHC staff are overburdened with many other programme works. As a result, to provide one person only for leprosy work is getting difficult. In high endemic districts and block having Annual New Case Detection Rate (ANCDR) higher than 10/100,000 population, due care could not be provided to the persons affected by leprosy, says the report.  (Courtesy: The Pioneer, Delhi )

Meetings with Ministers

Keshav Desiraju, Secretary,
Ministry of Health and
Family Welfare

While many states have shown good progress, we still have something like 125,000 new cases each year. In statistical terms, it is a small number, but in actual numbers it is very big. We are speaking to state governments about this. One problem is that people don’t seem to find leprosy work interesting. In some states the post of leprosy officer is not filled. It may be that somebody who is trained to do that job is being used elsewhere because leprosy is not seen as a priority. We regard leprosy as a very important area of our work. It is a priority for us, even if it is not a priority for state governments.

Resource Mobilisation Events


Resource Mobilisation Events – A Glance

 The Resource Mobilisation Unit - ALERT-INDIA is responsible for creating awareness about leprosy amongst students, business houses, bureaucrats, media and public at the large. It also raises much needed funds through individuals, trusts, corporate and national & international foundations. So far several fundraising activities were conducted over the years......... We acknowledge with great gratitude the Event Organising Committee, for their involvement and contribution to the leprosy control projects of ALERT-INDIA.

Name of the Committee Members

  • Mr. V. Ranganathan, Chief Advisor & Coordinator, K.J. Somaiya Trust, Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra
  • Jackie Shroff – Indian cine star
  • Keki M. Mistry, Vice Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, HDFC Ltd
  • Noshir D. Talati, Founder and Chairman, Talati & Panthaky – Associated Pvt. Ltd.
  • Ketki PatelEntrepreneur
  • Dolly ThakoreMedia & Communication consultant
  • Ramesh NarayanFounder of CANCO Advertising Pvt. Ltd and a Philanthropist
  • Arathi Shetty - Director, The Avvashya Group
  • Gopal Ramourti, Managing Director & Executive Director, Twilight Litaka Pharma Ltd.
  • Mr. Aneel Murarka, Managing Director, Mirachem Industriies
  • Smita Godrej Crishna, Director, Godrej
  • Dilip Jiwrajika, Managing Director, Alok Industries Ltd
  • Veera M. Rao, Director, ALERT-INDIA

Today, we miss the 3 of our stalwart committee members – Amrish Puri, Jagjit Singh and Yash Chopra

School Donation Card Drive:

Awareness programmes and donation card drives are held annually in over 300 schools, involving nearly 1 lakh students. An ‘Annual Awards Day’ function is held for prize winning schools and students, thus creating the necessary awareness about leprosy.


Our Past Events... 

Anil Kapoor and Milind Soman at the Annual Awards Day

Actress Amrita Rao & Shazahn Padamsee awarding Mr. Nariman Bacha

Jackie Shroff, Chief Guest with Aditya Roy Kapur and Jimmy Moses

Raju Srivastava at the event "HASNA MANA HAI"

Chief Guest, H. E. Shri K. Sankaranarayanan, Hon'ble
Governor Of Maharashta presents trophy to
Mr. Nariman Bacha of M/s. Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd.

Mr. V. Ranganathan, Chief Guest H. E. Shri K Sankaranarayanan,
Hon'ble Governor of Maharashtra presents trophy to
Master Sidhaant Murarka. Also seen is Gopal Ramourti

ALERT - INDIA Team at Mumbai Marathon

Aneel Murarka, V. Ranganathan, Chief Guest, H. E. Shri K. Sankaranarayanan, Hon'ble Governor of Maharashta, Guests Tanaaz and Bakhtiyaar Irani and Veera Rao

Jackie Shroff and Tanaaz Irani with a a Prize winner

Godrejities who ran for ALERT - INDIA in the Mumbai Marathon, 2011

Beauty & The Feast’ Celebrity Dinner (1999)
Late Yash Chopra and the ‘Celebrity Dinner’

Fleeting Images (1999)
Mr. Ramesh Narayan seen with Tina Ambani, viewing the photographs

LITTLE WONDERS (1998) with the music duos Kalyanji Anandji.
Rani Mukherjee seen dancing with the children

Fleeting Images (1999)
 A photographic exhibition organized and sponsored by Mr. Ramesh Narayan.  Chief Guest at the occasion was Late Mr. S.P. Godrej.  Seen from L to R:  Late Mr. S.P. Godrej, Mr. Ramesh Narayan, Mrs. Radha Narayan, Veera Rao and Mr. Ranganathan.

Daler Mehndi Nite (1997)

Daler Mehndi and Mika performing for the show

Master Sidhaant Murarka being felicitated by the
H. E. Shri S. C. Jamir, Hon'ble Governor of
Maharashtra. Also seen are Aneel Murarka & V. Ranganathan

Chief Guest Priyanka Chopra being felicitated by Mr. Ramesh Narayan

Shaan Mukherjee releasing the souvenir at
 'Beauty & The Feast' seen with Antony Samy & Veera Rao

Godrejities who ran for ALERT - INDIA in the
Mumbai Marathon, 18th January 2009

Stella Mancheril, Veera Rao, Mohan Rao and Aneel Murarka with
Raju Shrivastav at the marathon 2010

Late Shri. Jagjit Singh visits ALERT - INDIA's Leprosy
Referral Centre & meet patients at Vikhroli, Mumbai

Chief Guest H. E. Shri K. Sankaranarayanan, Hon'ble Governor of Maharashtra presents trophy to Mrs. Sudeshna Chatterjee of Jamnabai Narsee School