President Pratibha Devisingh Patil inaugurated the Anti Leprosy Fortnight and Leprosy Seal Campaign at Rashtrapati Bhavan here on Saturday.

The Fortnight and Campaign begins every year on January 30, the Martyrdom Day of Mahatma Gandhi. Speaking on the occasion the President said though a lot work has already gone into eradicating the ailment, much more still remains to be done.

The President expressed satisfaction over the fact that a lot of people from across sections of society and several professions have dedicated their time and money to help in this effort, which was so close to Mahatma Gandhi’s heart.

Referring to the efforts made by Mahatma Gandhi to help empower people with leprosy, the President said he did not merely preach the need for people to care for those afflicted by this disease, but was personally involved in the work.

Ms. Patil recalled her long association with this cause, ever since when she was a Minister in the Government of Maharashtra and more recently when she was the Governor of Rajasthan. As Governor, on her birthday every year, she always visited organisations that were engaged in the work of care for leprosy patients and its eradication.

The President said the issue of rehabilitation of persons cured from leprosy is equally important and urged those involved in the Campaign to look at this aspect. She said the ultimate measure of success would be the day when, as Mahatma Gandhi said, the disease would be eradicated and as a result homes for the care of afflicted persons would be closed down.

She also urged the stakeholders assembled at Rashtrapati Bhavan to work towards that goal.

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