To mark World Leprosy Day, the Duke of Gloucester has highlighted the extra challenges faced by all those working to eradicate the disease as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
The Duke, who is Vice President of Lepra UK, wrote to the organisation to mark the annual event which highlights the global fight against the condition. And his letter reflected on the increased pressures for those with leprosy and those working to help them.
Prince Richard said ”Over the last ten months, government lockdowns and the risk of COVID transmission has driven leprosy patient numbers down at clinics across India and
Bangladesh to below 50%. This means people affected by leprosy are remaining undiagnosed, continuing to transmit the infection and their disabilities are worsening. I’m very proud to say that Lepra has continued to provide services throughout this time, without postponing or reducing activities.”
He continued ”This has involved a lot of self-sacrifice and risk for those working in the field. Thank you to all the Lepra staff who have played a part in this, and displayed a commendable attitude throughout.”
The Duke of Gloucester highlighted the ways that the organisation had changed its work to best support those with the condition, including providing PPE for people battling leprosy and providing emergency food supplies for remote areas.
He concluded by saying ”Looking ahead…..I’m heartened to hear that, over the year ahead, you will be continuing with the above work. Lepra is also now prepared to assist the
governments with the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccination campaigns, should they need assistance again.”
The letter was shared on the Royal Family’s official social media platforms to mark World Leprosy Day. While the Duke of Gloucester is Vice President of Lepra, The Queen is its patron and archive images of her visits to those suffering from leprosy. It also highlighted her own personal involvement with the organisation, sharing details of her decision to sponsor a girl, Budesta, in Nigeria in 1956 to help her contiue her education.