The top photo was taken Monday, 28 December, 2009, Coimbatore, India. It shows a man stricken with leprosy begging on a footbridge in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India. The bottom photo was taken ten days earlier at Chennai International Fashion Week. The sarees worn by the models started at USD$5,000. India has seen a wealth increase of USD$1 trillion yet only 4-7% of the Indian population hold any equity. The World Bank has claimed that 456 million of Indian people (41.6% of the total Indian population) live under the global poverty line of USD$1.25 a day.
Leprosy currently affects approximately a quarter of a million people throughout the world, with 70% of these cases occurring in India. Cases of leprosy in India have decreased dramatically from 5,000,000 cases in 1985 to 213,000 cases in 2009. This significant decrease is largely due to the effectiveness of multi-drug therapy (MDT) that was developed in 1981. The prevalence of leprosy in India is now less than 1 case in 10,000 individuals, meeting the World Health Organization (WHO) criteria for leprosy elimination. Yet the WHO criterion for elimination is not met in all areas of the country; rural areas and urban slums continue to experience up to five times the number of leprosy cases as the national average.