Leprosy Awareness Survey63.3% Expect Mass Media to Promote Understanding

In connection with World Leprosy Day 2015,* observed on January 25, the Nippon Foundation has conducted a Leprosy Awareness Survey (PDF/49KB). References to leprosy date to the Old Testament, but even today when medical treatment is available, the disease continues to be accompanied by discrimination and stigma.

The survey showed that while overall 64.4% of people are aware of the disease of leprosy, there is a stark difference in awareness by generation, with more than 80% of persons aged 60 to 69 aware of the disease, but falling to 52.3% for persons aged 18 to 29. In addition, although a high percentage—79.5%—of respondents who were aware of leprosy were also aware that discrimination and stigma continue to be associated with the disease, more than 80% of these respondents associated leprosy with “isolation,” indicating that few people correctly understand leprosy to be a disease for which no stigma should be attached.

In response to the question of what needed to be done to remove leprosy-related stigma and discrimination, “teaching the correct information in schools” received the highest response at 81.5%, followed by “proactive reporting and coverage by the media” at 63.3%. Furthermore, the fact that 83.9% of respondents—the highest percentage—were aware of leprosy via newspapers and television indicates high expectations of the media as the main route for conveying an awareness of leprosy.

Under the theme “To Think About Leprosy Is to Think About People,” the Nippon Foundation is holding a variety of events and campaigns to promote a correct understanding of leprosy, with the goal of eliminating stigma and discrimination associated with the disease.

  • World Leprosy Day is observed each year on the last Sunday in January.

Survey Overview

  1. Method: Internet survey (closed-population sampling)
  2. Respondents: 3,012 persons, male and female ages 18 to 69, collected based on the 2010 national census
  3. Survey period: December 22-23, 2014

Number of respondents in details

(Age) 18-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 60-69 Total
Male 289 321 297 285 314 1,506
Female 273 314 291 293 335 1,506
Total 562 635 588 578 649 3,012


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