A special celebration programme on Sunday at the Green Pastures Hospital (GPH) in Pokhara marked the 70th World Leprosy Day. The event was jointly organized by the Health Directorate of Gandaki Province, Fairmed, Pokhara Metropolitan Office, Health Office Kaski, Nepal Leprosy Elimination Association and INF Green Pastures Hospital.

Dr Binod Bindu Sharma, Secretary of the Ministry of Social Development and Health, was the guest of honour. He praised Green Pastures Hospital, stating it was the pioneer of leprosy treatment in the Gandaki region and expressed hope that the collaboration between INF and the provincial government would play a key role in achieving zero leprosy cases by 2030.

Dr Arun Budha, INF Nepal’s Health Services Director, kicked off the event with a welcome speech, reiterating INF’s commitment to eradicating and rehabilitating those affected by the disease. He also emphasized INF’s goal of increasing public understanding and tackling the social stigma surrounding leprosy.

Dr Ramesh Sharma, Head of Dermatology and Leprosy, gave a general overview of the disease and stressed the importance of early diagnosis, prompt treatment, and changing mindsets to overcome leprosy. Dr Suraj Maharjan, the plastic and reconstructive surgeon of GPH, presented the technical aspects of the disease.

Special guest, Director of Gandaki Province Health Directorate Khim Khadka and guest TB & Leprosy Officer Laxman Basaula also spoke at the event, wishing leprosy patients a brighter future. INF Nepal Executive Director Krishna Adhikari closed the programme by recalling INF’s history in leprosy work and its commitment to supporting the government’s strategy of eliminating the disease by 2030.

A short video clip aimed at raising social awareness about leprosy was showcased at Prithvi Chowk in Pokhara, Nepal, for three days.

The celebration programme at GPH also featured various activities, including a poster competition for school students, a poem-writing contest for staff, games for leprosy patients, and awareness sessions in schools and police barracks. Leprosy patients expressed gratitude towards GPH for its care and treatment of their physical and emotional wounds. The guests and organisers also distributed warm clothes and fruit to leprosy patients in attendance and those of Arogya Aashram, Tutunga.

Photos can be found here.