The facts:

This is a project running across eight districts in Bangladesh. These districts have a high number of people affected by leprosy and of those many have a disability as a result of delayed treatment. By strengthening community level health systems we hope to detect cases of leprosy at an earlier stage so that fewer people have to endure the debilitating effects of a leprosy disability.

This project began on the 1st April 2016 and will continue for the next three years until March 2019. It is actually a second phase of a larger programme that we have run across these same districts that focused on strengthening the National Leprosy Elimination Programme (NLEP).

The aim:

We aim to train government health workers and our community champions to equip them with the skills they need to detect leprosy and we he hope that through this further access to leprosy screening we will increase awareness. This should lead to a reduced number of children, women and men who then have to live with a disability because of leprosy.

What exactly are we doing?

In this project we are working hard to find those that are living a life affected by leprosy. One of the ways we are doing that is by strengthening the healthcare systems that are already in place. That means training government health centre staff to detect the signs of leprosy and involving people within communities who have been affected by leprosy themselves. These community champions lead our leprosy awareness campaigns and are able to share their own experiences with community members showing that there is treatment and contracting leprosy doesn’t have to mean a life of isolation.

This project follows on from an initial programme we ran from January 2013 until December 2015. Strengthening the country’s programme to eliminate leprosy meant working with other organisations that tackle leprosy. Together we were able to strengthen the integration of leprosy detection and treatment into the healthcare services given at sub-district level. This second phases builds upon that work and strengthens healthcare services at the village level.

The figures:

  • Around 35,848 people (1,800 girls; 2,700 boys; 12,960 women; 18,388 men) will benefit directly from this project
  • 30,000 of these people will be those we find that may have leprosy and that we can help by referring them for diagnosis
  • 1,648 government health staff will be impacted by this project through training
  • As will 4,200 community champions

How can you help?

There are also many ways you can get involved with our projects in Bangladesh and help us in training staff. Just £13 could train a community champion to recognise symptoms of leprosy and that skill could prevent someone from living a lifetime with a disability.