Our referral centre in Munger district India, was set up in 2005. We began running a project from the centre to provide health care services that could serve as a one stop centre for treatment and disability management.
Munger district is endemic for leprosy and lymphatic filariasis (LF). To combat this, a leprosy referral centre was set-up in 2005 and later included LF activities. We began running a project from the centre to provide health care services that could serve as one stop centre for treatment and disability management.
This specific phase of the project began in 2016 and will last three years. It builds upon the work we’ve done over the years in Munger and combines approaches for tackling disability, disability management and inclusion when it comes to leprosy and LF.
With this three year phase there are a few objectives we are looking to achieve. They include:
- Finding more cases of LF and leprosy at earlier stages so we can prevent disability
- Sharing our work in our combined approach to both diseases so that others may learn
- Providing self-care demonstrations to those affected by leprosy and LF
- Empowering people affected by leprosy and LF to access rights and disability grants
What do we know about the people we work with in this area?
- 2 in 3 households live on less than £80 a month
- Two thirds of people don’t have a toilet in their house so must find an open space
- 3 days of work are missed each month because of disease
- 5 out of 6 people can’t afford more than 1 meal a day
- 1 in 3 people reported that their children don’t go to school
- Half of people said they didn’t feel included in the workplace because of their disease
What exactly are we doing?
The centre contains an extensive list of services that begins with diagnosis and then sees a patient access physio, protective shoes, counselling and self-care demonstrations but we also:
- Screening family members of a person affected by LF or leprosy to make sure they haven’t contracted the disease
- Screen children in schools to help us find cases early before disability sets in
- Our education van travels to villages to inform children, women and men about the symptoms of the diseases and where to go for help
- Hold exhibitions at festivals and market days to teach people about leprosy and LF
- Provide protective foot care for free
- Teach self-care methods to those who have a body part affected by disease
What do we know about the people we work with?
In 2016 we asked those people affected by LF in the area some questions and were able to discover some significant findings:
- 16% of people suffered with either hydrocele (swelling of the testes) and lymphedema (swelling of a limb)
- Only 15% of males with hydrocele had undergone surgery when we know that 56% of cases in Munger need surgery
- 58% people with LF said they had been informed about self-care practices but only 23% were practising regularly
- 48% of people lived with their LF symptoms for over 10 years before visiting Lepra
- 77% of people feel partially or significantly limited in their daily work
How can you help?
We couldn’t have changed the lives of so many people through our Munger Referral Centre without you and we hope to continue making a difference with your support.
Just £11 pays for a theatre group to conduct a community awareness performance which can 500 people with messages on what to look out for and where to find help.