The twentieth annual International Leprosy Day was observed in Dahomey on January 28 with ceremonies at Dassa Zoume, about a hundred miles (160 kms) north of the capital Cotonou.
GV People arrive for celebrations
SV Group of lepers seated (3 shots)
SV PAN VIP's seated
SV Priests at altar
SV TILT DOWN Man playing organ
SV PAN Guests listen
CU Gabriel Moriba addressing gathering
GV Lepers listen
SV Lepers being presented with gifts as guests look on (3 shots)
Initials BB/1242 GD/AS/BB/1300
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The twentieth annual International Leprosy Day was observed in Dahomey on January 28 with ceremonies at Dassa Zoume, about a hundred miles (160 kms) north of the capital Cotonou. The religious service and distribution of gifts to the lepers at Dassa Zoume was Dahomey's main function. The treatment centre at Dassa Zoume is one of several in Dahomey and the annual observance of the day is rotated among the centres.
The Dahomey celebrations paid tribute to M. Raoul Folloreau, the founder in 1946 of the inter-denominational Order of Charity. The Order is an international organisation devoted entirely to helping the world's millions of leprosy sufferers.
The disease is most widespread in hot climates and the worst affected areas are in equatorial Africa and Asia.
SYNOPSIS: International Leprosy Day was observed in Dehomey with functions at Dassa Zoume, a hundred miles from the coastal capital, Cotonou. The plight of the lepers throughout the world has been highlighted annually for twenty years on January 28. In Dahomey, the observance of the day is rotated among several centres which treat the country's lepers. Dahomey's hot climate makes it prone to the spread of leprosy.
Guests at the ceremony included Government Ministers, military leaders, representatives of the diplomatic corps, and members of groups such as the Red Cross.
The celebrations included a religious service and a tribute to the work of Raoul Follereau, the founder of the inter-denominational Order of Charity. Since 1946, the Order has been devoted to helping lepers throughout the world.
Dahomey's Health Minister, Captain Gabriel Moriba, represented the Head of State and took a prominent part in the ceremonies.
After the formal observance of the occasion, Government Ministers and other prominent guests distributed gifts among lepers.
Although Dahomey's climate encourages the spread of the disease, a nationwide treatment campaign has resulted in positive cures for many thousands of leprosy sufferers.