Recently, district officials in Nizamabad conducted a survey and found 142 people affected by leprosy who hadn’t yet been diagnosed. Compared to the year before, that’s three times the number of new cases and many of these are children.

What can we do?

There are three core steps we want to take that will improve the lives of those affected by leprosy in Nizamabad.

Step one - Finding and diagnosing new cases of leprosy

custom-made protective shoesIf we were to examine other members of the family and also the surrounding households in the community, we are likely to find many more cases.

It costs just £11 to pay for our healthcare workers to travel to the area and screen 50 people in close contact with an affected person. Any new cases can then be referred for the right help and treatment to prevent a life of disability.

Step two – Training ASHA’s

To make this project sustainable and allow more cases to be found over time, we also need to train accredited social health activists (ASHAs). These female health workers will be based in the area and trained to screen individuals and diagnose but also to make sure that a person with leprosy completes their full course of multi-drug therapy. That way we can be sure they are leprosy free and can no longer pass the disease onto another. That will eventually allow our community champions to move onto other areas to find more cases after initial examinations.

To train an ASHA to be able to detect the signs of leprosy only takes two hours and those two hours costs just £68. By training one ASHA, we could potentially reach hundreds more people and transform their lives.

Step three – Outreach clinic

Many of our services are based in our referral centres - the nearest one to Nizamabad being over 80km away. We want to bring those services, which include physiotherapy, counselling, protective footwear and self-care demonstrations, to Nizamabad one day a week. That will mean that we’re able to restore function to some who may already have a leprosy-related disability and relieve some of the burden of having been affected by the neglected disease.

With just £31, we can ensure a person affected by leprosy receives treatment for damage or disability that may have developed.

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