News Beat Leprosy: an update As the world’s first leprosy prevention organisation we are leaders in the field pioneering new ways of tackling this life-changing disease. Our vision is to make leprosy ‘a disease of no consequence’ - something that doesn’t bring about shame, a disease that people is easily treated and can be done so without prejudice. In 2014, we launched a new campaign to push our efforts even further taking crucial steps that would help us beat the disease by our 100th year. We vowed to not allow leprosy or those affected to be forgotten until it has become a disease of ‘no consequence’, to extend our reach in India and Bangladesh with programmes that we know can work, to provide solutions that engage and enable leprosy-affected people and to support enterprise that allows those affected to become self-sufficient. We asked you to fight alongside us by pledging your support or giving a generous gift so together our voice would be much louder. Two years on, and in our 92nd year, thanks to all of your support and generosity, we’ve made some significant progress. Early detection We want to find cases of leprosy at earlier stages before disability, blindness and nerve damage has had a chance to set in. From 2014-2016, we were able to reach over 3.8 million people with our health education messages. That means we’ve made more people aware of what the symptoms of leprosy are and informed them of where to go for help increasing the chances of detecting leprosy at an earlier stage more likely. We trained over 40,000 health workers, doctors, nurses, teachers and government health workers to spot the signs of leprosy Disability management We want to reduce the burden of living with leprosy and ensure that individuals are still able to earn a living, support themselves and retain their independence without being pushed into poverty by a leprosy-related disability. We have distributed 70,800 pairs of customised shoes since 2014 preventing further disability Over 1,000 lives have been changed through reconstructive surgery allowing those with disabilities to have restored functionality Over 31,000 people have been trained in self-care techniques which reduces the likelihood of further infection We’ve been able to reach over 536,371 children, women and men directly through diagnosis, treatment and care Tackling prejudice We want to reduce the prejudice that surrounds leprosy so that those potentially affected do not feel the need to hide away and are not treated any differently. Over 2,000 people have been able to access government grants for the first time We have supported activities, led by The Leprosy Mission India and the Law Commission, to see India repeal the 1898 Indian Lepers Act and 29 other acts that discriminate against people affected by leprosy. This particular act sanctioned the arrest and segregation of persons affected by leprosy into “leper asylums” but, as of earlier this year, the act no longer stands. This is a massive step towards breaking down the prejudice that those with leprosy face. We have been working to make more aware that the use of the word ‘leper’ is offensive and should not be used Just last year alone we reached 222,502 children with informative messages on neglected diseases educating them and dispelling prejudicial attitudes Rachna Kumari, one of our India staff members, now sits on the International Federation of Anti-Leprosy Associations’ advisory panel giving a voice to those affected by the disease on the global stage. To read more about our Beat Leprosy campaign and to see how you can help us keep of fighting, click here.