We've answered a few questions people sometimes ask about Lepra and our work. However, if you have further questions please contact us and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.

1. Why do you help people in India?

Because over 60% of the people newly diagnosed with leprosy live in India and in 2017, it was reported by the World Health Organisation that cases are at a 10 year high.

Although some talk about India being a rich country it is home to one third of the world’s poorest people. One in four people live on less than US $1.25 a day (defined as extreme poverty).

The States in which we work are amongst the poorest areas in the world. Bihar has a population of more than 100 million. If this State was a country, it would be the third poorest in the world as 80% of the people live below the international poverty line. Bihar alone carries 10% of the world’s leprosy burden.

Gender inequality is also a huge issue in India, and this dramatically affects women’s health. 80% of women in India have to seek permission from their husband or relative before visiting a healthcare centre. Women also face time consuming domestic tasks, which can reduce access to health facilities. Our research suggests many women with leprosy in India are currently going undiagnosed because they are unable or too afraid to come forward for treatment. Through our active case finding screening programme, we have found three times as many women affected by leprosy, and with more funding, we can find, diagnose and treat even more.

2. Why does Lepra help people in Bangladesh?

Bangladesh is the most densely populated country in the world, with a population of more than 158.5 million people. There are just three doctors and three nurses per 10,000 people, so access to healthcare is very difficult.

Two in ten of the people in Bangladesh live on less than US $1.25 a day (defined as extreme poverty).

3.Isn’t this the responsibility of governments?

Throughout the world, governments are not always able or willing to take up their responsibilities. A third of the world’s poor live in Bangladesh and India, which increases the challenge for these governments. Even though there are National Leprosy Programmes, huge populations and vast distances mean that services are fragmented at a local level.

So whilst we continue to work with governments to improve their services and advocate for them to shoulder their responsibilities, we also provide the urgent support that is needed now.

Our specialist skills and experience develop and strengthen health systems and bring about change more quickly for the poorest and most populous communities affected. It is through this way of working, recognised by governments, along with our credibility within communities, that means we can lead change, for example in remote or tribal areas where there is a distrust of authority.

Our work building capacity, linking governments and beneficiaries, and advocating for the rights of people affected by leprosy, should ultimately provide sustainability for health services and therefore raise basic living standards.

4. Why don’t charities get together to tackle leprosy?

We do! We are an active member of the International Federation of Anti-leprosy Associations (ILEP), UK Coalition for Neglected Tropical Diseases and Neglected Tropical Disease NGO Network (NNN). Through these forums, best practice is shared and co-funding of initiatives established.

5. Shouldn’t efforts be concentrating on a vaccine/scientific breakthroughs?

Yes, international leprosy organisations and funders are working together to pursue developments in diagnostic testing and vaccines. Our Blue Peter Public Health and Research Centre (BPHRC) is involved specifically in work to help understand transmission.

Globally, successful trials of vaccines and then subsequent programmes of mass administration may be many years away. As a charity that works directly with people affected, we believe we must also act now with known practical solutions that can have a real effect.

6. How do I know my money will make a difference?

Even a small amount can make a big difference – just £3 can provide a person disabled by leprosy with custom-made protective footwear, helping them to walk and work again comfortably and without fear of injury, infection or discrimination.

One of our core values is to be effective and efficient, and this value runs throughout all of our processes to ensure your money is spent wisely; all spending is carefully considered to ensure it achieves the greatest impact. We are also committed to being transparent and accountable and as part of this, we publish organisational and project information to the standards set by the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI). Our financial accounts can also be viewed here.

Whilst we can restrict funds to a certain project if you wish, we prefer to secure unrestricted funding, as this allows us to allocate funds where they are most needed. 

Find out more about our work and how we help