Mr Yohei Sasakawa is Chairman of
The Nippon Foundation, a private,
non-profit foundation established in 1962 for the purpose of carrying out
philanthropic activities, using revenue from motorboat racing. Mr Sasakawajoined
the Foundation as a trustee in 1981, served as president from 1989 and became
Chairman on 1 July2005.
In the field of public
health, The Nippon Foundation has for over 40 years, been closely involved with the global campaign to
eliminate leprosy, workingin close co-operation with the World Health
Organization, Governments, international organisations
and NGOs. Oneprime example of
this foundation’s work is the funding, between 1995 and 1999, of free
multi-drug therapy (MDT) for every leprosy-affected person in the world.
has described the elimination of leprosy (the oldest disease known to
humankind) as his life’s work, and spends one third of every year travelling
around the world as WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy Elimination, a position he has held since 2001. As Goodwill
Ambassador, he has initiated a campaign to end discrimination and other human
rights violations faced by tens of millions of leprosy-affected people around
the world. In recognition of the success of this work, Mr Sasakawa
was appointed as the Japanese Government Goodwill Ambassador for the Human
Rights of People Affected by Leprosy in 2007. In January 2006, Mr Sasakawa launched a Global Appeal to end stigma and discrimination
against People Affected by Leprosy, supported by world leaders,
to raise international awareness of the
personal involvement in this work has earned him international recognition, including the WHO Health for All Gold Medal, the International
Leprosy Union’s Millennium Gandhi Award, the Yomiuri International
Cooperation Prize and the International Gandhi Award.
Leprosy elimination program achieved its target in 1995 in Sri Lanka, nearly 2,000 cases are
still being reported and health institutes seeking support. Mr Yohi Sasakawa, met the Minister of Health Hon Maithripala
Sirisena in a meeting held at the Health Ministry
on 3rd May 2010 and it was said that the Nippon Foundation in Japan will support the Leprosy prevention
program in Sri Lanka.Dr Firdosi Rustom
Mehta, WHO Representative to Sri
Lanka, Dr Ravindra
Ruberu, Secretary to Ministry of Health and Dr Ajith Mendis, Director General
of Health Services participated in this discussion.
visited the Leprosy Hospital Hendala too on the
same day of 3rd May. Three hundred
year old Hendela hospital is considered as an
important heritage and will be conserved as a museum. Mr Sasakawa
spent time talking and listening to Leprosy patients who are domiciled in
this historical hospital.
Mr Sasakawa met His Excellency
Mahinda Rajapaksa , the President of Sri Lanka on 7th May 2010
at Temple Trees and said that the
Japanese Government and the Business Community will provide their unstinted
support and co-operation towards the efforts of the Sri Lanka Government to
build a strong economy after ending the war.
further information, contact The Nippon Foundation, Media Relations Team
Tel: +81-3-6229-5131 Fax: +81-3-6229-5130 or e mail to firstname.lastname@example.org