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Sasakawa Health Foundation

  • Japan    Disability, Disaster Relief, Human Rights, Medical & Health

Sasakawa Health Foundation

Sasakawa Health Foundation (SHF) was established in 1974 with the goal of eradicating Hansen’s disease, also known as leprosy, from the world.

Hansen’s disease is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae that had been around since ancient times. When infected, a person may experience numbness of the hands and feet as the disease affects peripheral nerves, or leaves various abnormalities on the skin. Without early and appropriate treatment, the disease may cause aftereffects such as loss of sensation or deformities. Today, treatment is available and Hansen’s disease is no longer incurable. However, the stigma and discrimination associated with the disease are deeply rooted in societies, blocking the proliferation of proper knowledge and understanding. If a person is not diagnosed and treated at an early stage, it can create a negative chain. For example, one may become disabled, lose one’s job, become alienated and attract further prejudice. 

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