COVID-19 Update In compliance with government advice, Lepra has decided to close its office doors during the COVID-19 outbreak. The health and welfare of our staff is important, both here and abroad. As the government’s advice continues to evolve and the situation rapidly changes, we will be scaling back our physical community fundraising efforts. This could have a significant impact on our ability to raise money for our projects in India, Bangladesh, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Chief Executive, Geoff Prescott, said, “Lepra works for those affected by the oldest known infectious pathogen to humanity and the very first one isolated. Indeed, it was Lepra who found and shared the first known antibiotic cure for leprosy, not a government or a pharmaceutical company. We know, therefore, that it is important when dealing with infectious diseases to follow evidence-led advice.” It has never been more important to assist those who have so little. In India, where our sister organisation LEPRA (formerly known as Lepra Society) helps those affected by leprosy and lymphatic filariasis, there have been over 84 confirmed cases of COVID-19. The country has now suspended all visas for non-nationals, with few exceptions, meaning that we cannot assist our colleagues in India as normal with monitoring and evaluation, or helping those affected by leprosy or lymphatic filariasis. India has historically struggled with a weak health system across all states. People with diseases like leprosy, which is completely curable, struggle to access free treatment. This does not bode well for those affected by COVID-19. It is a serious and evolving situation throughout the world, and especially in our focus countries who have overburdened health systems already or entirely non-existent health systems. Our work in India, which in part focuses on health system strengthening, is vital. This means that governments are not as reliant on external factors or donors to run an efficient and effective health system. During this period of time, we will be encouraging people to donate to us online or through bank drafts/postal cheques as staff will not be in the office to take phonecalls. Please do not hesitate to email us on [email protected] DONATE Or alternatively, please look at our WAYS TO DONATE page. The world is a global village, and what impacts one country will inevitably impact another. We need, now more than ever, to stick together and remember our values of kindness and compassion. Please consider donating to Lepra in this time of need and help us further strengthen health systems.