Jakarta, wapresri.go.id – Vice President Jusuf Kalla urged the public to no longer discriminate against those who suffer from leprosy. He also demanded that leprosy patients or their families immediately contact health workers to get proper treatment.

“In ancient times, people with leprosy were often avoided and even hidden by the family and they were in a very low position,” said the Vice President when receiving Yohei Sasakawa, Nippon Foundation chairman who is also the World Health Organization (WHO) ambassador for leprosy elimination at the Office of the Vice President in Jakarta, Tuesday (Nov. 15).

However, the Vice President continued, this condition has changed a lot with the increasing number of leprosy patients who can be cured, among others through the assistance of humanitarian agencies such as the Nippon Foundation.

He also appreciated and expressed his gratitude to the Nippon Foundation for its efforts to help eradicate leprosy in Indonesia.

In response, Sasakawa said the Nippon Foundation, a Japanese-based philanthropic organization founded in 1962, has devoted its attention to eradicating the disease which WHO classified as one of the neglected tropical diseases in the world for more than 40 years.

Data from the Ministry of Health show that in 2016 Indonesia has a national prevalence of leprosy of 0.71 per 10,000 population. The government through the ministry has a target that Indonesia will be free from leprosy by 2019. (AKS/FM, KIP Setwapres)