Hind Kusht Nivaran Sangh (Indian Leprosy Association) is an old and prestigeous body of people committed towards treatment, rehabilitation of leprosy patients and elimination of leprosy from India. Abbreviated as HKNS, Hind Kusht Nivaran Sangh was founded on 27th January 1925 with the name of Indian Council of British Empire Leprosy Relief Association (BELRA) with three objectives : (i) to carry out research on various aspects of leprosy; (ii) to provide short courses of training , treatment of leprosy; and (iii) to carry out propaganda. When the Indian Council of BELRA was established by His Excellency the Earl of Reading and; then Viceroy and Governor-General of India, there were two headquarters, one located at Indian Red Cross Society Office, New Delhi ( inaugurated by Sardar Bahadur Balwant Singh Puri) functioning as Administrative Office and the other headquarter working as Technical Office situated at the Department of Leprosy, School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Calcutta under the leadership of Dr Ernest Muir.
After the independence of India, The Indian Council of BELRA was renamed as Hind Kusht Nivaran Sangh (Indian Leprosy Association) and registered in 1950 under the Registration of Societies Act (XXI of 1860) with the President of India as the President of the Sangh and by its constitution, the Chairman, Honorary Treasurer and Organizing Secretary all being nominated by the President. (Late) Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, the then Health Minister of India was nominated by the President as the first Chairman of HKNS. Thus, the Hind Kusht Nivaran Sangh (Indian Leprosy Association) came into existence on the 19th of August 1949. Prof T. N. Jagadisan, Honorary Secretary of the Kasturba Kusht Nivaran Nilayam, Pazhavanthangal was the first Organizing Secretary of HKNS. It was the pioneering and painstaking efforts of Prof Jagadisan that the HKNS (Indian Leprosy Association) spread throughout India to become the foremost association of leprosy researchers and activists in India. After the inception of National Leprosy Eradication Programme (NLEP) in India, HKNS (Indian Leprosy Association) has played commendable job to achieve the dissemination of information about the NLEP through its 17 State branches and sub- branches. The HKNS and its auxiliary branches acted as catalysts in accelerating the pace of public health awareness programme and rehabilitation of dislocated leprosy patients.
Present Activities of Hind Kusht Nivaran Sangh (Indian Leprosy Association):
1. Production and distribution of health education and publicity material on leprosy.
2. Publication of quarterly Indian Journal of Leprosy and a bi-monthly news bulletin Kusht Vinashak for leprosy workers and the general public.
3. Production and distribution of leprosy seals to create awareness about leprosy and help other organisations in raising funds for their work through the sale of these seals.
4. Observance of Anti-Leprosy Day on the 30th January every year to create mass awareness about leprosy.
5. Conducting training courses of nine months duration for physiotherapy technicians of at two leprosy training centres (Naini, Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh and Purulia, West Bengal).
6. Organising the All India Leprosy Workers Conference and Regional Leprosy Workers Conferences in collaboration with the state branches and other voluntary organisations
7. Providing assistance to voluntary organisations and leprosy patients.
8. Maintaining a house called “Shanthi Illam” at Vellore (Tamil Nadu) where leprosy patients who come for surgical treatment at the Christian Medical College and Hospital, Vellore are provided free boarding and lodging facilities.
9. Running of two mobile leprosy treatment units in two districts of Delhi ( north-east and west) with funds provided by the Government of India.
10 .Organising exhibitions on leprosy in Delhi.
Awards Conferred by Hind Kusht Nivaran Sangh (Indian Leprosy Association):
1. Awards for promotion of field research for medical officers (three awards carrying a cash prize of Rs. 10,000/- each).
2. Awards for best field workers (10 awards carrying a cash prize of Rs. 5,000/- each).
3. Dr. Dharmendra Award for Leprosy research in India (carrying a cash prize of Rs. 1 lakh, a plaque and a citation).
4. Dr. Dharmendra Award for Leprosy research in India (carrying a cash prize of Rs. 1 lakh, a plaque and a citation).
1. One best State Leprosy Officer (SLO) carrying a cash prize of Rs. 15,000/-.
2. One best Non-Government Organisation (NGO) carrying a certificate and medallion.References:
1. Jagannathan SA (2001). History and development of the Hind Kusht Nivaran Sangh and its contribution to leprosy work in India. Indian J Lepr.73:35-49.
2. Mishra RS (2002). Stratagies in the final phase of Leprosy elimination. Kusht Vinashak. Nov- Dec: 8-10 .