Book on Dr S K Noordeen, Architect of Global Leprosy Elimination Program launched by Mr R Dinesh, CII President
Chennai, 20th September 2023: “Dr S K Noordeen’s legacy must continue and India can be a ‘Zero Leprosy Country’ by 2030 with the Prime Minister of India also endorsing the same. The world today acknowledges Dr Noordeen has largely managed to eliminate Leprosy worldwide,” said Dr Derek Lobo, Member, Board of Trustees, Sasakawa – India Leprosy Foundation (S-ILF) at the launch of the book authored by himself: Dr S K Noordeen, Architect of the Global Leprosy Elimination Program.
The Chief Guest, Mr R Dinesh, President, CII received the first copy. Others present at the book launch were Mr Mahalingam, Vice Chairman, S-ILF & Past Chairman, CII-SR, and Mr Gaurab Sen, CEO, S-ILF.
The event, hosted by CII Southern Region and Sasakawa-India Leprosy Foundation (S-ILF), also provided a platform to discuss the current state of the persons affected by leprosy around the world.
Sharing his thoughts on the book, the author, Dr Derek Lobo said, ‘Dr S K Noordeen, born in a small village in Tamil Nadu was a very humble person, with a constant focus towards eliminating leprosy. Even after retirement from World Health Organization (WHO), he worked tirelessly towards the cause of eliminating leprosy. It was only after his demise, that I decided to write a book on his story as a gesture towards him.”
Dr Derek Lobo pointed out, ‘India accounts 57% of leprosy cases globally where 121 countries account for 40% of cases. WHO is working tremendously to eliminate leprosy, in fact 31 countries have recorded zero leprosy cases whereas 30 countries recorded less than 10 cases nationally. Only Brazil, India & Indonesia are such countries which have recorded more than 10,000 cases of leprosy.”
In his opening remarks, Mr R Dinesh, said, “It is important that we all have to work together to support those who have been afflicted and make sure they get integrated into the mainstream. I understand, 2 million people have created awareness in society about what this illness is. We believe that making sure that we alleviate this stigma and discrimination regarding leprosy is central ensuring that people can live not only a life of dignity but also feel fulfilled and help them reintegrate into the community,”.
“Incidentally, Tamil Nadu alone has 63 active colonies which needs to be reduced to Zero. This can be made possible with the industry also coming forward and doing its bit. We have identified three partnership areas where Industry can contribute and collaborate. First is the growing workforce and the industry can become the most effective amplifier in terms of creating awareness of leprosy. Secondly, as employers, we should play a role in helping build skills and provide livelihood opportunities. The third point I would like to state is Industry not just bringing in financial support to the table but also address the development challenges. With Bajaj and Tata Steel already partnering with S-ILF, am sure other models can be replicated across other locations where leprosy is more prevalent,” he added.
“The book is a biography of Dr SK Noordeen, a native of Tamil Nadu, who is deservedly recognized as the Architect of the Global Leprosy Elimination Programme. We are all aware of S-ILF and the support they receive from Nippon Foundation and Sasakawa Health Foundation. Dr. Yohei Sasakawa is a fascinating person, forever on the move, and has taken his role as WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy Elimination very seriously. He has written a foreword to this book, which brings out the high esteem with which he held Dr Noordeen”, said Mr S Mahalingam, Vice Chairman, S-ILF & Past Chairman, CII-SR.
“S-ILF is carrying out the work which derive from the vision of Dr Sasakawa and Dr Noordeen. We have recently started a zonal office at Chennai and this is the seventh zonal office after Nashik, Raipur, Jamshedpur, Delhi, Vijayawada and in Bankurain, West Bengal,”he added.
Mr Gaurab Sen, CEO, S-ILF said, “S-ILF is actively working in 14 states across India. Our activities have benefited more than 3000 beneficiaries be it financial assistance, education, and supporting children by providing scholarships, healthcare and awareness in schools and colleges. We provide livelihoods in the nearby areas so that families can become self sufficient and not opt for begging which is very prevalent,”.
Mr N M P Jeyesh, Regional Director, CII-Southern Region shared the vote of thanks stating, “We opted to have the book release in Chennai as a humble tribute to Dr Noordeen and his achievements in the fight against Leprosy. We also intend to leverage the industry fraternity towards the Leprosy Elimination Program and to sensitize the public on this important issue,”