We have over ninety years of experience supporting those affected by leprosy and other neglected diseases in various parts of the world.

On Africa Day, we want to share with you what we’ve been up to in Mozambique. As well as focusing on finding cases of lymphatic filariasis (LF) and leprosy before a disability sets in with people living in the Zambezia Province of Mozambique, our project here also looks at helping those who already have a disability by finding ways to reintegrate them into work and society. We are working alongside the Netherlands Leprosy Relief to do this.

Leprosy in Mozambique

It is believed that around one in every 20,000 people in Mozambique has leprosy [1]. As is the case in many parts of the world, people with leprosy are often shunned from their communities due to a lack of understanding about the cause of the disease. In fact, in the local language of Nempalu, those with leprosy are even known as a ‘moribund person’, meaning someone on the verge of death. This contributes to the belief that the disease is incurable when that is not the case.

Our work

The Zambezia province has one of the highest rates of leprosy in the country and getting treatment for neglected diseases here can be difficult as only 60% of the population have access to health services and people often have to travel far to reach them [2]. While there are national efforts to distribute drugs to treat leprosy and prevent LF, our new project is helping to fill the gap in follow-up care and treatment for leprosy or LF-related disability.

What are we doing?

  • We are training 240 community champions to detect cases of LF and leprosy
  • We help those affected by disease advocate for access to disability benefits through provincial and national governments
  • We are providing more health education to communities as well as teaching them self-care techniques
  • We are establishing self-help groups to give individuals an opportunity to learn a new skill

Self-care groups

The self-care practices used to reduce leprosy-associated wounds and disability are similar to those required to reduce secondary bacterial infections linked to LF. Therefore, those affected by either disease can come together to:

  • Learn how to take care of their affected body parts
  • Support each other and combat the isolation and depression associated with these diseases
  • Access protective footwear, economic opportunity as well as healthcare

Community champions

We have trained 240 volunteers to recognise the symptoms of leprosy as well as TB, HIV and malaria. This approach means finding more people who may be affected by disease, possibly before a disability has set in.

By engaging local champions, some of whom have themselves been affected by neglected diseases, we also tackle the deep-rooted cultural prejudices. This helps to reduce the prejudice associated.

So far…

We have reached 134 people in the Zambezia area and the majority of those have been referred through our community champions who are actively finding cases of LF and leprosy.


This Africa Day, you can donate and help us carry out our life-changing work in Mozambique.

Donate now

1 http://leprosyrelief.org

2 http://www.slideshare.net/Fiocook/fionas-presentation-on-mozambique1