Nizamabad is a city in the state of Telangana in India and somewhere we currently aren’t able to reach with our services. Recently, district officials conducted a survey and found 142 people affected by leprosy who hadn’t been diagnosed. Compared to the year before, that’s three times the number of new cases and many of these are children.

custom-made protective shoesAlthough these 142 people are now undergoing multi-drug therapy, we want to help them access other services like our protective footwear, physiotherapy and counselling. Without it, many will no longer have leprosy but be forced to live with the debilitating consequences such as nerve damage, disability to hands and feet or loss of vision. We can help make their lives a little easier but to do this, we urgently need your support.

We also believe that if we were to dig a little deeper, we’d find more than the 142 cases.  Our experience in other areas of our work, like in Bihar where our staff not only examine other members of the family to see if they too have contracted leprosy, but also the surrounding families in the community, we know that there are likely to be many more cases. Right now they don’t have access to all the things that could help them recover, but we want to change that!

The problem

The problem is simple: in Nizamabad there are high numbers of people affected by leprosy. We know there are more and we want to find them, help those affected and bring our services to them.

Without this, those in the city will be forced to live with the effects of leprosy and the disease will carry on being passed from person to person. We need to diagnose and act quickly to stop any further transmission.

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

Outreach referral centre clinicWe need to actively look for, and find, new cases of leprosy that we believe may exist in the area. To do that we want our staff to visit Nizamabad and screen the family of anyone newly diagnosed as well as visiting nearby households to see if anyone close has also been affected. That should help us find and diagnose children, women and men at an earlier stage, before disability has set in.  

All it takes is £11 to pay for our health care 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 help prevent a life of disability.

Step two

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 that two hours  costs just £68. By training one ASHA, we could potentially reach hundreds more people and transform their lives.

Step three

ASHAs While we can train ASHAs in the area and have workers travel there, 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.

To donate and help us help those in Nizamabad, click the donate button below.

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