This week Brussels hosts the 18th International Leprosy Congress from Monday 16th until Thursday 19th of September 2013. This very important event in the world of leprosy, which began in 1897, only occurs every five years.

It is a valuable opportunity for leprosy experts, scientists, doctors and people who work directly in leprosy affected communities, to come together and learn from each other.

Around 700 people from countries around the world have gathered and shared presentations and exhibitions of their work, covering the history of leprosy and its pressing challenges in the present day.

From scientific innovations such as the development of vaccines and chemoprophylaxis, to improving disability care in the community; issues such as stigma and human rights, and medical management topics like reconstructive surgery have all featured strongly.

Several Lepra staff members have successfully presented their work at the congress to contribute and share our work and expertise in the field.

The theme of this congress is 'Hidden challenges', and through learning and discussion we hope that this congress will help the entire leprosy community to overcome these final challenges by working together in partnership to tackle leprosy and improve the lives of people affected by the disease.