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Our Projects


Alleviating the burden from Skin diseases of affected People to improve Inclusion, Restoration and Empowerment (ASPIRE)

Finding leprosy and lymphatic filariasis (LF) cases early is paramount in preventing disability, reducing the impact on mental health and fostering good well-being for people affected.

Through Lepra’s work on active case detection and ongoing support, we reach remote, rural communities where there is extremely limited healthcare provision.

Once diagnosed, our next priority for people affected by leprosy is to ensure they have free access to healthcare services, so they may begin treatment and rehabilitation. Part of that journey is supporting people affected by leprosy and LF to develop self-care skills - skills that can be used throughout their lifetime.

The Facts

Leprosy and LF are two of ten neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) recognised by the World Health Organization which show symptoms on the skin. Although skin-related NTDs can attract prejudice, it also makes finding and referring for diagnosis easier.

Combing active case finding for all skin-related NTDs, at the same time, can benefit all people affected by NTDs. This, together with dedicated skin NTD focussed training for health workers, can save scarce resources, providing a complete and connected approach to skin NTD healthcare. 

It can also reduce prejudice towards people affected by leprosy, in particular.

In Bihar, a state in India, five skin NTDs are commonly found in the community: leprosy, LF, cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL), post-kala azar dermal leishmaniasis (PKDL), and scabies. The capacity of the health systems is extremely limited and national guidelines are sporadic. Only leprosy, LF, and PKDL have national protocols for disease control and management.

The Aim

Working with our partners, Effect Hope, the ASPIRE project aims to integrate health and community responses to address leprosy LF, PKDL, CL and scabies. The project is being implemented in Jamui district of Bihar State, and will last five years.

This is an innovative project that models a combined approach to early case detection as well as disease management through the entire continuum of care.

ASPIRE will actively involve the community, strengthen health systems, and improve coordination across government non-health and health sectors including the World Health Organisation.

What we are doing?

Together with Effect Hope, we will provide

  • Awareness campaigns in local communities raising awareness of the early signs and symptoms of the five skin-NTDs, where to seek help, and to reduce the social myths around the diseases
  • Combined active case finding activities to identify the true prevalence of the diseases in Jamui district
  • Empowerment of self-support groups of the people affected by leprosy, LF and scabies to create a support system for home-based, self-care practices and to actively involve the groups in vector control measures
  • Training for health providers to recognise the early signs and symptoms of each skin-NTDs, provide appropriate treatment throughout the continuum of care, and refer to the appropriate health centres when necessary
  • Two morbidity management and disability prevention units support severe complication management, appropriate footwear, mental health education and mentoring, and to liaise with District Hospital practitioners for advanced treatment
  • Coordination across health and non-health sectors for integrated and sustainable care for people affected by skin NTDs

What impact will the project have?

The project is expected to cover 1.8 million people living in Jamui District.

People affected by the five skin-NTDs will receive the healthcare and support of the project, with health care workers being trained to care for them. The number of direct beneficiaries is estimated at 5,000 people.

The ASPIRE project will

  • Improve physical, mental and social wellbeing living in Jamui District, Bihar
  • Reduce transmission of the six NTDs
  • Ensure a sustainable and responsive health system that is efficient and coordinated
     

How you can help?

Your support changes lives. A gift of £38 can provide a village exhibition, helping to reach 100 people with important health information and education. Donate today!