With this project we hope to improve the quality of life for people affected by leprosy-related disabilities and complications.
We began working in this area of Odisha in 1991. The main focus back then was to reach out to the most marginalised tribal communities and to provide those affected by leprosy with quality health care services.
Over the years this has remained our focus and currently, we work in the 3 districts of Koraput, Malkangiri and Nawarangpur where 74% to 82% of the population are living below the poverty line. That’s more than 405,500 families. Among these there are a high number of people with leprosy-related disabilities; 1169 presenting with severe disabilities.
From 2016 to 2019 we want to further improve access to care for those affected by leprosy, improve the lives of those with a leprosy-related disability and prevent further disability. We’ll also focus on helping people to access their rights.
We will improve the quality of life of people affected by leprosy-related disabilities and complications. We also want to increase the number of cases of leprosy we are able to find at an early stage therefore preventing disability and empower people to claim their rights.
What exactly are we doing?
- Conducting disability prevention and medical rehabilitation clinics at government health facilities
- Providing protective footwear and assessing people for reconstructive surgery
- Offering physiotherapy and pre- and post-op care for reconstructive surgery
- Helping with socio-economic rehabilitation which means looking at skills training and access to disability grants
- Providing health education by showing films and displaying exhibitions at markets that can improve knowledge surrounding diseases like leprosy
- Training healthcare workers to detect the signs of leprosy
- Facilitating and mobilising people with leprosy to form block and district level networks
What we know about the people we work with in this area?
- 83% of households live on less than £40 a month
- 8% of personal income is spent on health
- 1 in 3 say the disease limits them at work
- 8 days a month are missed at work due to illness
- 9 in 10 only eat 2 meals a day
- 91% do not have a toilet in their household
Some recent data:
Over 2015 and 2016 we collated some data and were able to find that:
- 7 in 10 people presented with a disability if they had had leprosy symptoms for over 3 years
- ¼ of people that came to us within 6 months of their leprosy symptoms appearing already had an irreversible disability
- 2 out of 3 people that visited us had seen a doctor 3 or more times since their symptoms first appeared 1-3 years ago
- A third of people with symptoms that had appeared in less than a year had been sent to our centres by a health worker
- 52% of people that came to us had had symptoms appear between a 6-12 month period
How can you help?
To help us continue our work in this region and relieve some of the burden of having been affected by leprosy, there are lots of things you can do for us. You can take part in a challenge event or hold a life-changing tea, find out more here. Together we can beat leprosy.