The project

Initiated in April 2016, the Reaching the Unreached project has already seen concrete results within in just one year. Working in collaboration with RDRS Bangladesh and the Dhanjuri Leprosy centre, our project aims are to raise awareness and to improve the lives of people affected by leprosy and lymphatic filariasis (LF) in Bangladesh.

One year on, we are already seeing big improvements.

While there is still much more work to be done, we look forward to seeing further positive developments until the completion of the project in March 2019.

Sajeron, pictured above now walks without pain thanks to the protective footwear she received from this project

Big steps towards preventing and managing Lymphatic Filariasis

Unfortunately there is currently no known cure for lymphatic filariasis (LF). With prevention being the key to stopping the spread of LF, our project aims to teach ways in preventing and managing LF through self-care groups and clinics.

The practises taught are simple yet extremely effective in keeping the symptoms of LF at bay. Prevention techniques include cleaning and drying feet properly; wearing protective footwear and recognising the signs and symptoms of the disease early on. With a lack of access to education in Bangladesh, these simple methods are often unknown to those suffering from the disease.

Within the first 8 months of our project, the percentage of people suffering from LF attacks dropped from 80% to 67% showing the huge impact these simple techniques, accompanied by general health education, can have on an individual’s wellbeing.

Improvements in Leprosy care

Leprosy care has also seen a steady increase. Within 12 months of our project, the number of reported ulcers showed a reduction by 15% and the average number of people who suffered from complications to treatment decreased from 44% to 19.5%.

Supporting people to overcome poverty

The effects of leprosy and LF can make it hard for people affected to go to work. Struggling with the symptoms of these diseases, the days which are taken off from work affects household income significantly. Often, people affected by LF or leprosy live in poverty; in fact within our project, 73% of people affected by leprosy and 60% of people living with LF are living below the poverty line (earning less than £40 a month). Therefore losing even a day’s income can dramatically affect their lives, pushing them into further poverty, and leaving them struggling to support themselves and their families.

With our project’s action on improvement in prevention and care, people we are working with, who have been affected by leprosy, have found the number of work days they lose each month has fallen from 6 to 3 days, while people living with LF have found their lost working days have fallen from 5 days to 4 in just one year. Ultimately, this has led to an increase in income of 13% for families affected by leprosy, and 6% for families affected by LF.

There is still work to be done

With over 1,500 leprosy and LF sufferers attending our self-care groups there have been a vast number of enhancements in self-care and preventative measures.

However there is still work to do.

50% of beneficiaries still show a form of disability and we therefore need to continue spreading awareness of these diseases to prevent and eventually eradicate them.

What we hope to achieve

Going into the project’s second year, we look to build upon our achievements from year 1. By the end of this project we expect to see:

• The impact of leprosy and LF on individuals to be significantly reduced
• The quality of life for impoverished women, men, girls and boys further improved
• The access to quality healthcare and early detection services increased

This will help to reduce the transmission of leprosy & LF, lower the morbidity rate, and decrease the chances of complications that may arise as a result of the disease.

Please help us to reach these objectives

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