To ensure we have the most impact we work in partnership with leprosy-affected individuals, their families and their communities. We listen, we learn and we empower whole communities to take charge of their own development.
We also work hand-in-hand with governments, the World Health Organisation, local leprosy and health related organisations, and local churches. The end result is projects that are effective, sustainable and responsive to local needs.
We currently have projects in the following countries:
We run awareness raising programmes in leprosy-affected areas to educate individuals, families and communities about the signs and symptoms of the disease. A vital part of these programmes is the training of community volunteers who take responsibility for identifying new cases in their villages. We also educate local health workers, doctors, nurses, paramedics, rural medical practitioners and family planning staff about leprosy so they can identify cases and refer people for treatment as quickly as possible.
To be effective we must reach as many leprosy-affected people as we can as quickly as possible. That is why we also work with governments to ensure that leprosy detection, diagnosis and treatment are given priority within the public health system.
The Leprosy Mission serves a population of 305 million people across over 200 projects in 26 leprosy-affected countries. We partner with local-health care centres where we train local doctors, health workers and government staff to diagnose and treat leprosy.
In many leprosy-affected countries, the government is increasingly taking on the role of detection and treatment, and we are able to focus our efforts on the on-going rehabilitation of individuals and families affected by the disease. Disability is often a consequence of leprosy, especially if it is not diagnosed and treated early enough, and many leprosy-affected people need medical care long after their treatment has finished. Common disabilities caused by leprosy include loss of mobility in hands and feet, painful ulcers and infections, and even avoidable blindness.
Once treatment is finished we teach leprosy-affected individuals and families about 'self-care' so they can prevent and manage disability at home, and in Leprosy Mission supported self-care groups. This allows leprosy-affected people to live independently, stay active and keep working or attending school. We also provide follow-up health services to ensure there are no complications or symptoms of recurring leprosy. We cure, care for and restore people affected by leprosy. Partner with us here.
With the right kind of support and infrastructure, communities can lift themselves out of poverty and reduce the spread of leprosy at the same time. We help to raise the standard of living for the whole community by focusing on access to clean water, better sanitation, health education, vocational and skills training, education scholarships, and sustainable livelihoods.
Self-help groups are at the heart of many of our projects. Each group is made up of community members who are socially and economically excluded due to leprosy, disability and poverty. The groups are specifically designed to bring leprosy-affected people together so they can rebuild their confidence, re-integrate into their families and communities, and gain the skills and confidence they need to become socially and economically independent.
We also help to establish savings and loans groups where people disadvantaged by leprosy, disabilities and poverty can come together to build up financial resources, with the end goal of setting up income generating activities. Enterprises that have proved successful include fattening cattle, keeping poultry, establishing fish farms, growing produce to sell at the market and setting up small shops to name a few. Click here to help a leprosy-affected family start their own small business.
Leprosy-affected people are most empowered when they are accepted back into their communities with a sense of pride, dignity and self-worth. All of our projects have a strong education component and we bring entire communities together to learn about the causes and consequences of leprosy. Through education we can dispel the myths surrounding the disease and build strong and inclusive families and communities.
Individuals and families living with leprosy and disability are often socially excluded and denied access to basic services. We run advocacy skills training workshops for community leaders and inform leprosy-affected people about their rights, empowering them to challenge injustice and access their entitlements. We work in partnership with local leprosy organisations and support them to advocate on human rights issues, promoting justice and dignity for all.
Although disaster relief is not a core area of our work, we respond when we can, often working in partnership with other organisations to distribute emergency aid. Our main concern is providing medical and psychosocial support to leprosy-affected individuals and their families- especially those who are living with disability.
We also help communities prepare for disasters by: