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Pope asks world leaders to come together to tackle leprosy

World Leprosy Day is observed each year on the last Sunday in January

UCA News reporter

UCA News reporter

Published: February 01, 2021 09:20 AM GMT

Updated: February 01, 2021 09:23 AM GMT

Pope asks world leaders to come together to tackle leprosy

The pope encouraged missionaries, health workers and volunteers who serve those affected by Hansen's disease, popularly known as leprosy.

Pope Francis has expressed his closeness to all those affected by leprosy on World Leprosy Day and urged a united fight to eliminate the disease.

The pope encouraged missionaries, health workers and volunteers who serve those affected by Hansen's disease, popularly known as leprosy.

World Leprosy Day is observed each year on the last Sunday in January.

Pope Francis said that the Covid-19 pandemic "had confirmed the need to protect the right to health for those who are most fragile."

He urged world leaders to unite in their efforts to treat those "who have Hansen's disease and for their social inclusion." This year's theme is "Beat Leprosy."

In his message to mark the day, Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, said that "beating leprosy involves more than a mere medical struggle. It also seeks to eliminate the social stigma that accompanies this difficult illness and ultimately envisions the restoration of the human person in an integral way."

Recalling Jesus healing a leper, the cardinal said that in addition to physical healing, the Lord also "applies the salve of human dignity."

"When the Church speaks of God's generous offer of salvation, that gift is both universal and integral. God desires to heal all people and the whole person," he said.

Cardinal Turkson concluded his message by thanking all who dedicate themselves to beating leprosy.

They efficiently "show us that leprosy is curable, that human encounter can eliminate stigma, and that mental well-being is an essential part of integral health," the cardinal said.

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