We work in parts of the world where severe health staff shortages are common, particularly in rural areas.

Health workers often lack basic knowledge of neglected diseases leading to increased prejudice. Health staff often refuse to treat people affected by diseases like leprosy and lymphatic filariasis.

Due to these problems people often have no choice but to use unqualified traditional doctors, paying high costs and often receiving for poor quality and potentially dangerous care.

Improving health worker skills

We work directly with the government health system to train health workers, increasing their skills and improving quality of care for patients.

This not only gives them the skills to treat neglected diseases and disability, but also makes them more accepting of people affected by neglected diseases.

Last year we trained over 20,000 government health staff and community health workers in India and Bangladesh, improving health care for the long term.

We also work with traditional doctors to ensure that they have the skills to recognise common diseases and refer patients to government health facilities for correct treatment.

Last year Lepra trained almost 7,000 traditional doctors, ensuring that people affected by neglected diseases are quickly referred for correct diagnosis and treatment.

Filling the gaps

To fill the gaps in health services and health worker shortages we help communities to build their own knowledge through health education, enabling them to respond to their own health needs.

We work with community based volunteers and train them to recognise the signs and symptoms of common neglected diseases.

These volunteers will continue to work in their communities to spread health messages, follow up people on treatment for diseases like leprosy and TB, and refer suspected cases of illness to the appropriate health facility.

Last year we trained over 17,000 community health volunteers in India and Bangladesh to improve the health of their own communities and reduce dependence on the health system.