Milena meets two of the local women working at the centre. Milena meets two of the local women working at the centre.

Milena’s trip to Bihar

28 March 2020

Our Manager of Programmes, Milena, recently visited our sister organisation in India, to see the work our team is doing.

While there, Milena visited a High School in Bihar to see how Lepra provides Health Education awareness, by teaching school children the signs and symptoms of leprosy. 

Milena then visited a SPARSH project. 

Here, she met with a shoe technician named Adal Das, who has been a shoe technician with Lepra since 2009. She was able to see him create a new pair of customised shoes with a microcellular (MCR) sole for a 67-year-old lady affected by leprosy. 

As shown in the images below, the lady was able to choose the style of shoe.

The SPARSH shoe technician, Adal, took around 90 minutes to make the customised shoes for her. 
In addition to this, he also produces customised ulcer shoes, hand aids and exercise devices. 

In the photo below, he is showing a hand device made of felt, velcro straps and rubber bands, to help strengthen hand muscles that have been weakened due to leprosy. 

Milena also met Santosh Singh, senior physiotherapist and training co-ordinator, who performed a slit skin smear test at the SPARSH centre on a lady with multibacillary leprosy. 

She came with her nephew, who assisted and supported her throughout the process. 

A Slit skin smear kit is pictured above. The collected blood serum is smeared onto a slide for microscopic purpose and sent to Lepra's Blue Peter Research Centre in Hyderabad for examination. 

Milena also visited inpatients at the SPARSH centre, including four young women, all in full time education. They had undergone reconstructive surgery for their hands and had already been at the centre for three weeks. They have another six week recovery and rehabilitation ahead of them.

After this, Milena then attended a focus group discussion with people affected by lymphatic filariasis. The aim was to understand their needs, explore barriers to MMDP services and assess knowledge on case management. 

The trip was immensely eye opening for our programmes manager, after joining Lepra at the end of last year. This has been her first trip to India in her current role.

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Meeting children at a school
Visiting a ward