Mahatma Gandhi's role in anti leprosy work recalled

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New Delhi, Jan 30 (ANI): President Pratibha Patil inaugurated an anti-leprosy campaign, on the eve of World Leprosy Day here on Saturday.

The Fortnight and Campaign begins every year on January 30, the Martyrdom Day of Mahatma Gandhi.

"This is a very important job which Gandhi himself initiated. He didn't just preach to people that they should help those who are suffering. He did it himself to show people what needs to be done," said Patil.

Speaking on the occasion the President Patil said good work has been done in the area of eradication of Leprosy, yet the work is not complete.

She expressed her satisfaction that people from various professions are dedicating some of their time and money to help in this noble effort, which was so close to Mahatma Gandhi's heart.

President Patil observed that Mahatma Gandhi did not just preach about the need for people to care for those afflicted by this disease, but was himself personally involved in the work.

The President recalled her long association with this cause, ever since when she was a Minister in the Maharashtra Government and more recently when she was the Rajasthan Governor.

Patil felt that the issue of rehabilitation of persons cured from leprosy was important and urged those involved in the Campaign to look at this aspect. The President said the ultimate measure of success would be the day when, as Mahatma Gandhi said, the disease would be eradicated and as a result Homes for the care of afflicted persons would be closed down. She asked all those at assembled at Rashtrapati Bhavan to work towards that goal.

India has the highest number of leprosy cases after Brazil, and the country's elimination targets look grim. The National Rural Health Mission's (NRHM) aim of eradicating leprosy and reducing its prevalence rate to less than one per 10,000 is yet to be achieved. (ANI)

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