Early detection, diagnosis and treatment of leprosy are the most effective ways to prevent disability.

Until this can be achieved for everyone, prevention of disability is a really important aspect of our work in both Bangladesh and India for children and adults.

How does disability occur?

When diagnosis has been delayed, the result may be disabilities of the hands and feet and also eyes, potentially leading to blindness.

Anaesthesia (lack of feeling) in hands and feet lead to injuries and ulcers. Imagine not being able to feel sharp stones, glass or metal on the ground, or having no way to feel the heat on a pan handle or pot.

Ulcers and burns which can become infected are a common problem for people affected by leprosy. “Drop foot” and clawed hands also make even simple tasks difficult or even impossible.

The importance of shoes

Specially designed and custom-made sandals can prevent cuts and ulcers and mean the difference between being confined to the home or walking to work or school.

Our shoe technicians measure the feet and make the shoes from microcellular rubber. They even design “fashion” shoes in different colours – women love having a matching pair for their outfit for a special occasion!

Other podiatric appliances and adaptive devices can also help with activities of daily living. We provide two pairs of shoes each year and other equipment free of charge.

'Pop-up' clinics

Prevention of disability “pop-up” clinics away from our main referral centres are a really effective way to share information and to demonstrate self-care techniques.

Learning how to treat and dress wounds and how to use physiotherapy exercises can greatly reduce the risk of developing disabilities. We provide self-care kits so that there is no delay to continuing these practices at home.

Lack of information is a hindrance to achieving the best possible quality of life. By taking our knowledge and expertise to the heart of the local communities, we can help millions of people to face challenges, change their lives and open up new opportunities.