Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, on Wednesday 30th January 2019, welcomed Dr NS Dharamshaktu (Principal Public Health Advisor, GOI), Dr Rajesh Kumar (Dean, PGIMER, Chandigarh), Dr Sanjiv Kamble (Ex DG, Maharashtra), International Gandhi Awardees - Dr MD Gupte, Dr Atul Shah, Dr RK Mutatkar and Dr VV Dongre , Shri PL Tapadia (Trustee, KHS) along with Association of leprosy affected people, faculty, staff and students to commemorate the 2019 World Leprosy day.
This year’s programme was under the theme, ‘Role of Gandhian Philosophy in Health with Focus on Leprosy Elimination’. On the occasion of Mahatma Gandhi’s 70th death anniversary, an exhibition of the collection of Gandhiji’s pictures depicting his tryst with leprosy was also showcased in the auditorium.
The programme started with the garlanding of portraits of Ba, Bapu and Badi-Behenji followed by the traditional welcome of guests by sootgundi. Dr NM Gangane (Dean, MGIMS) welcomed the gathering and introduced the theme and objective of the programme. “Leprosy is re-emerging”, he warned and emphasized on the need to mobilize support for leprosy control. Dr SP Kalantri (Medical Superintendent, Kasturba Hospital) administered the oath where everyone pledged to help people affected with leprosy.
Dr BS Garg, Secretary KHS and Director, Gandhi Memorial Leprosy Foundation introduced the mission and put forward the future plans of GMLF. “ We strongly advocate for the human rights of leprosy affected people and shall continue to strive for a stigma-free and discrimination-free world for them”, Dr Garg advocated.
Speaking at the occasion, President of Kasturba Health Society Shri Dhirubhai Mehta, who is also the Chairman of Gandhi Memorial Leprosy Foundation called for attention and care for people living with leprosy and also urged to stop discrimination against people living with the disease. “Over half of the new cases are detected in India,” Shri Dhirubhai noted.
Dr Garg read out the letter of shradhanjali to Bapu and everyone observed two minutes of silence in reverence for Gandhiji.
The symposium on leprosy started with a thought provoking speech by Dr Sanjiv Kamble (Ex DG, Maharashtra) entitled ‘Leprosy Status in Maharashtra and way forward’. This was followed by talks on recent advances in leprosy by MD Gupte (IG Awardee, 2017) and rehabilitation in leprosy by Dr Atul Shah (IG Awardee, 2017). Dr R K Mutatkar (IG Awardee, 2015) spoke on ‘Gandhiji and Leprosy’ while Dr V V Dongre (IG Awardee, 2013) threw light over the socio-legal aspects of leprosy. Mr Dhage – fondly known as Guruji and a close associate of GMLF - shared his own experience with the disease and emphasized on the need of Government financial assistance for leprosy affected people
Vote of thanks was given by Shri PV Bahulekar.