Für ein Ende der Diskriminierung bei Lepra

TOKIO – Im Rahmen seiner Anfang Oktober zu Ende gegangenen 15. Sitzung verabschiedete der UN-Menschenrechtsrat eine Resolution, in der die Staaten aufgefordert werden, die Diskriminierung der von Lepra betroffenen Menschen – und deren Familienmitgliedern – zu beenden. Als Goodwill-Botschafter der Weltgesundheitsorganisation für die Ausrottung der Lepra habe ich mich lange für ein derartiges Ergebnis eingesetzt.

Lepra ist eine der ältesten Krankheiten der Welt. Sie hat eine körperliche Dimension, aber auch soziale und psychologische Komponenten. Über lange Zeit gab es gegen diese Krankheit kein Heilmittel. Erst im späten 20. Jahrhundert wurde eine wirksame Chemotherapie entwickelt. Seit Einführung dieser Kombinationstherapie in den frühen 1980er Jahren, konnten ungefähr 16 Millionen Menschen auf der ganzen Welt geheilt werden. In praktisch keinem Land der Welt wird die Lepra noch als Problem der öffentlichen Gesundheit eingestuft.

Bei frühzeitiger Diagnose und Behandlung hinterlässt die Lepra nicht zwangsläufig Spuren. Nur wenn die Krankheit nicht behandelt wird, führt der Schaden an den peripheren Nerven zu Taubheitsgefühlen und verursacht Geschwürbildungen und Wunden.  Ein unkontrollierter Krankheitsverlauf führt zu Entstellungen und möglicher Dauerinvalidität.

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