Months / Duration
Awareness-raising and the creation of self-help groups within the community, training for health professionals in the early detection of leprosy and the treatment of identified cases. A key element of the project will be the provision of improved information on the danger signs, and communicating the message that leprosy can be treated. This is crucial in the fight against this disease and the stigma that is associated with it in Indian society.
For decades, India has been the country most affected by leprosy in the world. Every day, some 600 new cases are detected, of which 55 in children under 14. Child leprosy is an indication that transmission of the disease is ongoing, that it occurs at an early age, and that more cases will appear in the future. The number of cases of visible disabilities upon diagnosis has increased in recent years, indicating that leprosy is being diagnosed late and that there is a lack of information on early symptoms of the disease. Late diagnosis also means that the disease may potentially have been transmitted over a longer period of time.
Despite the fact that the origin of the disease is known and that effective treatment exists, families and affected people still suffer rejection and discrimination in their closest environment. In India, there are still 16 laws in force which classify leprosy as an incurable and highly contagious disease, making it a valid reason for dismissal from work, divorce or separating children from their families. Some laws ban those affected from taking up public office, and in cases where leprosy has led to disability, this is not recognised as such.
The project aims to promote early diagnosis of leprosy and boost information, education and communication activities for early diagnosis in 25 schools; specific training of 75 professionals in 6 health centres such that they can acquire the capacity to detect the disease, and the creation of 25 self-help groups, each integrated by approximately 18 people.
Increasing information on danger signals and what to do if leprosy is detected, as well as knowing that treatment is available, that leprosy can be cured and disabilities prevented, are key elements in the fight against this disease.
It is estimated that the campaigns will detect 100 new cases, which will be treated by the local organisation. The 130 cases currently undergoing treatment since the previous year will also be monitored.