On June 25th, 2019, Sri Lanka concluded its first ever World Vitiligo Day celebrations at Base Hospital, Balapitiya. The event organizing committee was spearheaded by Ajith Prasanna Kannangara – a famous consultant dermatologist and specialist in cosmetology.
The event had its own logo, which was praised widely by local as well as global vitiligo community. For the logo, Nadungamuwe Raja, a national treasure in Sri Lanka, was chosen. Most Asian elephants including Nadungamuwe Raja have some skin de-pigmentation or “freckles” as we call them. It is relatively similar to what we observe in vitiligo. The natural discoloration, characterized by pink areas, is common in Asian elephants and is more noticeable on the ears and face. Individual elephants have different amounts of non-pigmented areas. As they age, many lose pigmentation around their ears, necks, and trunks.
To spread the awareness of such ‘first-ever WVD event, Instagram and Facebook pages for WVD 2019 Sri Lanka were created days before the main event. A few articles were also published about vitiligo and the impotence of World Vitiligo Day in English as well as in the beautiful Island’s own language – Sinhala.
To mark the celebration of the event, one hour TV program, which focused on World Vitiligo Day, was broadcasted on SIRASA TV, one of the most popular TV channels of the island country. Due to its thought-provoking and educational content, the program became a talking point not only among people but also among medical practitioners.
June 25th, 2019 was indeed a day aimed to educate the general public about vitiligo, encouraging everyone to remove the stigma associated with vitiligo. The endeavor of the event was to also promote widespread understanding of the chronic skin disorder for the community to help every vitiligo fighter become more optimistic in life.
The most important aspect of the World Vitiligo Day 2019 celebration was patient and medical staff education program. The event was a success for its first run, in the presence of 100 participants. WVD t-shirts were also distributed at the event (sponsored by famous non-profit VR Foundation) to give shelf-life to vitiligo awareness, around the year.