We are delighted and honoured to announce that we have won the prestigious Cross-Disease Collaboration award at the 2016 Water Awards presented by the International Society for Neglected Tropical Diseases (ISNTD).

We were chosen as the winners because of our innovative Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) project in Bogra District, Bangladesh. During this project we built over 100 latrines and over 80 wells and educated communities in safe personal hygiene practices. The result of the project created a healthier environment for people affected by leprosy and their communities. They now have access to clean drinking water and improved sanitation facilities, helping to break the vicious circle of disease and poverty.

Our pioneering use of mobile technology for data collection, found that two thirds of people were now able to take better care of their pre-existing health conditions, including managing the effects of leprosy. And a staggering 47% of people reported that family members were less ill that when the project began.

The award was accepted on behalf of Lepra by Programme Officer Maartje Pronk, at the award ceremony held in London on 1st November. She said;

“Access to safe water and sanitation is such a basic human right; I can’t imagine having to live without a toilet or running water.  I have seen the extremely difficult situations the people we work with live in and this project has made such a significant difference.  At Lepra we focus on the person, rather than the disease, and with clean water and toilets we have especially reached people affected by leprosy, enabling them to take care of their health and improve their wellbeing, their existing conditions and prevent them getting new infections. For this work to be recognized by the International Society for NTDs is a real honour.”

Waheduzzaman Polu, who directly implemented the project in Bangladesh, also commented;

“We feel very much honored about this award! Lots of people were involved for the success of this project. So I would like to give thanks to our beneficiaries and Self Help Group members for their active support during implementing this project in Bogra. I would also like to give thanks to the International Society for NTDs for selecting Lepra for this award, to the public health department and local government, various NGOs for their support in capacity building and ensuring quality, and our teams in the UK and Bangladesh for the planning and support to implement the project. And of course especially lots of thanks to our Bogra staff including our community volunteers for their support and cooperation.”